Second City Hockey staff celebrates Joel Quenneville’s legacy with the Blackhawks

Thank you, Q.

For a little more than 10 years — or precisely 3,674 days — Joel Quenneville was the Chicago Blackhawks head coach. That run ended Tuesday morning, when the Blackhawks fired Quenneville and named Jeremy Colliton as the team’s 38th head coach. During that decade with the team, Quenneville went 452-249-96 in the regular season, 76-52 in the Stanley Cup playoffs and — most importantly — won three Stanley Cups for the Blackhawks, snapping a title drought that reached 49 years before Quenneville’s 2009-10 team ended it.

And in his tenure, Quenneville became as beloved as any coach in Chicago, spawning countless GIFs, memes, quotes, phrases and one follicle-inspired Twitter account. With the end of this era arriving, the Second City Hockey staff shared their reactions and some of their memories of the second-winningest coaching in Blackhawks history:

Matt Lucas

I will always remember watching Q lift the cup in 2010. It looked like it was as light as a feather. He had the biggest smile on his face. For the next six years, the Hawks played the best hockey I have ever witnessed. Chicago became a hockey town. Opening night and playoff home games were treated like holidays. Fans walked around with Hawks jerseys on gamedays, off days and were invested in the game like never before.

Q brought fire and passion to the Hawks bench. Q empowered his players and fellow coaches to love the game. Q developed young talent into superstars. Q has soundbites that will last a lifetime. Q taught the team that winning is not everything and that providing the community and city a group of men to look up to was just as important. Q made three Cups possible. I can’t wait to watch Q get inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Thank you Q, we will severely miss you. You have impacted more lives than you think.

Brandon Cain

Coaches don’t survive in the NHL or in professional sports with one team as long as Quenneville did with the Blackhawks. In Chicago sports alone, the city has seen 20-plus coaches be hired and fired since Quenneville took over. But there Quenneville was night in and night out behind the Blackhawks bench. In such a sports-obsessed city, Quenneville was the constant and so was his success.

Every October he was there. Whether it was a 7:05 p.m. start or one of those great early start times, he was there. He wasn’t suppose to leave, at least not like this. He was family and Chicago embraced him as one of their own.

Dave Melton

The overwhelming feeling is sadness, as part of the realization that this whole era of the Blackhawks — which has been more fun than I can adequately describe — is nearing its end. I don’t believe it’s completely over, and we can debate that later, but another one of the names that has been a Chicago staple for the last decade is gone. I thought the first big name to drop was Patrick Sharp, who was traded after the 2015 Cup win. Then we had Marian Hossa forced into an early retirement. Then we had the Niklas Hjalmarsson trade. And now this. It’s another brutal reminder about the impermanence of professional sports, that none of this can last forever. Those people are now gone and, one day, names like Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook will also join them as they fade from our present to our past.

The one part of Q’s tenure that will stick in my mind is, despite the gruff exterior often displayed on the bench, he was as respected and liked by his players as any coach in the league. And, for me, the lasting image of this coach and this era will be of him, in the locker room in Boston, drenched in beer with a cigar in his mouth while hoisting the second of three Cups he won with the Hawks.

Yeah, that’ll work.

Shalyn Brady

I’m sure there were Blackhawks fans who, despite the pain of losing seasons, supported the Denis Savard-era. But from what I remember, it wasn’t much to write home about. Quenneville enters an organization in 2008 hungry to compete, hungry to become relevant again, and hungry to make history. Every important game, series and season of the last 11 years Chicago Blackhawks history has involved Quenneville in some way, shape or form. From winning the first Cup in 49 years, to becoming the second winningest coach in NHL history with 890 wins, to bringing three Cups home to Chicago, Quenneville is forever engraved in the cornerstone of this franchise. What he’s done to bring hockey back to life in a city that was on the brink of forgetting one of its major sports franchises will never be erased, and it will never be forgotten.

Thank you, Coach Q, for putting Chicago hockey back on the map, for bringing undying passion and love for the game to the rink every single day, and for all the brilliant, candid moments. “Peanut butter” won’t just be a jar on the shelf anymore, “crispy” won’t just be how you like your chicken, and “pickle” will forever remind this city of that beautiful night in June 2013.

Brad Repplinger

Sports fans always seem to appreciate and adore a head coach that shows his “true colors” both on and off the field or ice. Just look at how this city celebrates Bears coach Mike Ditka, a guy that won only one Super Bowl during his coaching tenure. Fans to this day sing the praises of “Ditka” and how great of an image he provided for a franchise.

It’s time to celebrate another Chicago coaching legend, the legend of Q.

When I think of Quenneville, I think about a guy that taught a young team the value of hard work and resilience. I think about a guy that is humble enough to laugh when he falls during a Stanley Cup Final warm-up, or a guy that is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve after the passing of a colleague.

Forever a member the Chicago Coach “Mount Rushmore,” when I think of him I will think of a champion. Thanks for making hockey fun.