A couple weeks ago, our dear coach of the Chicago Blackhawks was fired after around 10 years of being our go-to guy. Sure, last season we missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and we started this season with a less-than-stellar 6-6-3 record, but still, I'm not happy to see him go.
Even though he's come and gone, Quenneville will always serve as a special part of why I love the Blackhawks. And while Coach Q being gone doesn't take away my love for the team, it certainly leaves a hole.
Now for those of you that don't know, in sports, oftentimes when a team is doing poorly over a short stretch of time, no matter what the real reason for the slump, the scapegoat becomes the coach. I suppose it's easier to pin the fault on one person than a whole team. So given that scenario, the team will often go ahead and fire the coach, whether the coach deserves it or not.
I've never been too keen on that, partially because I'm jealous that this mentality doesn't carry over into the corporate world. But unfortunately, that's not how things work in anywhere but the sports world where the players have "contracts" that can't be "broken" because of "clauses." Which is just insane. And that's what upsets me -- there ain't no sanity clause. (Not my joke but I love it too much not to make it.)
Going back to the man himself, Quenneville was and forever shall be the quenn-tessential (see what I did there?) coach of the Chicago Blackhawks to me. He was the one who turned it all around, who after an almost 50-year slump, led us to three championships in six years. He was an essential part of why I loved watching the Blackhawks. Seeing him behind the bench always felt good. Like seeing a guardian angel -- a guardian angel with an incredible moustache.
And I always looked forward to when he got mad. Normally he was such a calm, cool and collected guy, but when he lost his temper it was incredible. Like a dad who is normally really chill so when you legitimately screwed up you knew you just had to get out of the way. Coach Q could get so passionately livid that he'd turn pink. So pink, in fact, his fiercely white moustache would also change hues. Hence why I started calling him Coach Hue. (I never called him that). But truly, it was a sight to behold because it felt like he was yelling for all us fans, defending the team we love. Also, it may just be that I take great appreciation in certain celebrities who can yell really well.
I think a lot of people know and agree that Quenneville wasn't totally deserving of being fired, but the Blackhawks' situation needed a change. I mean, as of writing this, the Blackhawks are 2-2-2 since Quenneville was fired. With a goal differential of -4. To explain that to the layman, the Blackhawks would probably be doing just as good if not better if they didn't even have a real coach. I mean, the Mighty Ducks sort of coached themselves that one time in the second movie! And they won the Junior Goodwill Games!
So here's to wishful thinking that we'll hire Coach Q back someday so that his free time is no longer used to take shots with tailgaters at the Bears game. But here's the thing, I secretly love that he does that, because it's just …it's such a good part of Chicago. And Quenneville became a significant part of Chicago. You could catch him at Arlington Park all the time. Or see him on TV in absolutely terrible Binny's commercials. Coach Q felt like he was really part of the community that is Chicago. He was a coach of a Chicago sports team in a way few others have ever been: he was, and still is, always happy to be among his fans because he is one too.
So because this is all taking place around Thanksgiving, I want to give my thanks to Joel Quenneville. Thank you for being my coach through what has been the greatest period of my life to be a Blackhawks fan. You are essentially my generation's Ditka! If asked who would win in a fight, Ditka or Quenneville, my answer would certainly be that both their moustaches would call a truce and somehow declare world peace while providing brats and beer for all while taking shots at a Bears tailgate.