Jeremy Colliton Dismissed as Chicago Blackhawks Coach | Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks have sacked Jeremy Colliton 12 games in his fourth season as coach of the team – and three years to the date he was appointed.
Colliton’s sack on Saturday came the day after the Hawks fell to 1-9-2 with a 5-1 deflationary loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
On November 6, 2018, the Hawks fired three-time Stanley Cup winner Joel Quenneville and installed Colliton, then the Rockford IceHogs coach, as the 38th head coach in franchise history behind the bench.
Derek King, who had previously coached the IceHogs, is now the head coach of the Hawks on an interim basis, while the deputy head coach Anders Sorensen takes over the post in Rockford on an interim basis.
The Hawks also fired assistant coaches Tomas Mitell and Sheldon Brookbank.
“These were extremely difficult weeks for our organization and we had to come to terms with a number of necessary changes,” said CEO Danny Wirtz in a statement on Saturday. “Looking ahead, we know we need to regain the trust of our fans and we appreciate the support of our entire community as we work on that.
“On the ice, interim managing director Kyle Davidson has our full confidence and our autonomy to make ice hockey decisions, and we support him in this coaching change. We appreciate everything that Jeremy brought to the Blackhawks, and we look forward to working with Derek as interim head coach as we work to rebuild our permanent leadership in the ice hockey business. “
Davidson added in the team statement: “Our goal on the ice remains the same: to build an elite hockey system – and we haven’t achieved that. The fact is, our game and our competitiveness need to be improved. Every game, every shift. Today’s managerial changes are difficult, especially given the incredible personal connections Jeremy and others have made with our players in their development. We appreciate Jeremy’s contribution to the organization over the past three seasons and wish him and his family all the best.
“We appreciate Derek’s willingness to step behind the bench when looking for our next permanent head coach. His NHL experience as a player and working with our younger players at Rockford over the past four years gives us great confidence in his ability to lead the Chicago Blackhawks in this interim role. “
Assistants Marc Crawford, Matt Meacham and Dylan Crawford and goalkeeping coach Jimmy Waite will keep their jobs with the Hawks, and Chris Kunitz will continue to advise staff on player development.
Colliton’s regime ends after 205 games with an 87-92-26 record (0.488 point percent).
He became the league’s youngest head coach at 33, and retained that status after turning 36 in January.
Writing seemed to be on the wall for Colliton, whose list was filled with talented newcomers like Seth Jones and Marc-André Fleury but wasn’t produced in the Victory Column.
In fact, the Hawks went backwards and got the worst start in franchise history (0-7-2) after a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues, setting an NHL record for futility by running 366 minutes and went 41 seconds earlier they held their first lead of the season.
Former ice hockey president and general manager Stan Bowman showed incredible patience and confidence in Colliton and rewarded him with a two-year contract extension in January, despite a record of 62: 58-17.
Bowman was asked during training camp if Colliton was under additional pressure and he said, “There is always pressure. … We will still be a very young team. “
Bowman seemed reluctant to set a schedule for Colliton to make the team a competitor, and resorted to “development” as his primary yardstick.
However, his verdict on Colliton became a moot point when Bowman became embroiled in the Kyle Beach scandal. He resigned after a law firm report caught him and other senior executives in a lack of action in response to Beach’s allegations against then-video coach Brad Aldrich in May 2010.
Colliton’s chief attorney was out and Davidson was appointed interim GM.
The Hawks showed signs of a turnaround with a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday, their first win of the season, but it was fleeting: they dumped the next two and looked lost and lifeless as the Jets did on Friday night lost the road.
After the game, Colliton said the team would have to regroup with a day off on Saturday.
“We have to come with energy and play better,” said Colliton. “We know we can play well. We have to play well for 60 minutes. If we do that, we’ll win the hockey game. That has to be the standard. Tonight wasn’t the level we needed to win in most areas. “
Colliton won’t get another chance to get his team to reach this level. Unlike leaders like captain Jonathan Toews who say the players still believe in Colliton, it’s possible they stopped responding to him and his message.
“We want to start winning games, we want to have a little fun playing hockey because we know we’re doing a lot less than we can. So it’s not overwhelming, ”Toews said after a 3-6 loss to Detroit Red Wings on October 24 that coincided with the end of a 535 game sell-out at the United Center, another worrying sign for the organization.
King, 54, was promoted to head coach at AHL subsidiary Rockford in April 2019. He played 14 seasons in the NHL after being drafted in the 1985 first round by the New York Islanders.
“This team has a lot of talent – talent I know from my time in the organization – and I look forward to working with them behind the bank,” King said in a statement. “I appreciate the support from Kyle Davidson and Danny Wirtz during this process and I can’t wait to get started. I understand my role and position and I am ready to do the work necessary to make the organization a success. “
King was IceHogs assistant coach from 2016 to 2018 when Colliton was brought to Chicago. King ended the 2018/19 season as interim head coach.
By the time Colliton was promoted, the Hawks under Quenneville had fallen to 6-6-3 after a winless run of five games.
“Sometimes, painful as it is, you need to start over,” said then team president John McDonough of Quenneville’s sacking after leading the Hawks to three Stanley Cups.
“Ultimately, it’s about winning,” said Colliton when he was hired. “I have to earn their trust by believing that I can help them win, that I can help them get better individually, that we as employees can put together a plan so that they can be successful.”
Colliton started with two regular losses and one overtime loss in his first three games and ended the 2018-19 season with a 30-28-9 record.
The Hawks hit 32-30-8 in the 2019-20 season, which was halted by the pandemic. When the season started again, the Hawks reached the league’s expanded postseason field, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in the play-in round, but lost their first round streak to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1.
Last season’s young squad finished 24-25-7 in a 56-game schedule that was restricted to division opponents due to COVID-19 precautions.
Colliton said he gained confidence and a deeper knowledge of his team through years of experience and developing relationships with his players.
“The longer you go, the more situations you’ve been through,” he said a day before the 2021/22 season opener. “It’s hard to train a player when you haven’t established a relationship with him. And when you’re joining a new team for the first time, it’s difficult. It takes time to do this. And if you don’t succeed, it doesn’t get any easier.
“I know this group. Whether guys who have been here for a while and I’ve coached them for so many years or young players and maybe I had them at Rockford or had them here as a young player, they know me, I know them and it just makes it easier. “
But it turned out that Colliton wasn’t exactly sure what he had.
He mixed up defensive partners during training camp after the valuable acquisitions Jones and Jake McCabe struggled to shape the chemistry.
He started shuffling the forward lines, giving up shuffles as soon as he made them.
For example, Tyler Johnson started in the front row with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, and in the fourth game Kane played with Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel, while DeBrincat and Johnson fell back to the third and fourth rows, respectively.
“I thought we did some of those lines in camp pretty well and thought we might have something,” said Colliton on October 23, “but when the season started we didn’t continue that momentum. If you’re looking for a spark, the lines are one way to do it. “
Former Lightning, Rangers, Canucks and Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella (0.548 percent win over 20 seasons) could be a potential candidate to replace Colliton on a permanent basis. He and the Blue Jackets agreed to split after last season, and ESPN hired him as a studio analyst in August.
The New York Islanders’ assistant, Lane Lambert, has been considered a future head coach for some time.