Imrem: Coach Quenneville on solid ice in Chicago

  • Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville smiles at a news conference last Sunday, a day before his team won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to clinch their third championship title in six season.

    Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville smiles at a news conference last Sunday, a day before his team won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to clinch their third championship title in six season. Associated Press

Posted6/21/2015 6:55 AM

Maybe Joel Quenneville will be the exception to the 10-year rule.

That's the rule asserting that a decade generally should be the limit for a head coach or baseball manager to hold the same job with the same team.


Quenneville just completed his seventh season as Blackhawks' coach and Stan Bowman insists, "Joel is not going anywhere."

The Hawks' general manager didn't specify whether he means before next season, before the season after or before the 10-year mark.

Quenneville shows no signs of burnout. He will be 57 years old when next season begins, appears to be in good health and his players haven't stopped listening to him yet.

If anything, Quenneville is as engaged and entrenched as ever with the Hawks after last week winning his third Stanley Cup in the last six years.

So don't hold the door, Tom Thibodeau, Quenneville isn't about to follow you out during these turbulent times for Chicago coaches and managers.

Bulls' coach Fred Hoiberg, Bears' coach John Fox, and Cubs' manager Joe Maddon each is in his first year here. White Sox' manager Robin Ventura might be in his last.

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The end doesn't seem anywhere near for Quenneville even if he is only three seasons from the dreaded 10-year line.

One theory is that Quenneville, whose current contract runs through the 2016-17 season, earned the right to coach the Hawks as long as he wants.

Quenneville isn't a Thibodeau, who was embroiled in an ongoing feud with his Bulls' superiors.

The perception is that, inevitable disagreements and creative tension aside, the Hawks operate smoothly from the ice to behind the bench to the front office to the executive suites.

But 10 years are 10 years and to paraphrase the song lyric, after awhile every coach is skating on the thin ice of a new day, especially as the decade milestone approaches.

It might not be mere coincidence that Mike Babcock, who won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, just left for Toronto after an even 10 years in Detroit.

Scotty Bowman, now a Hawks' adviser, coached a record nine Stanley Cups but never stayed longer than nine years in any of his five stops.


Notable exceptions to the 10-year rule include Mike Ditka. He lasted 11 years with the Bears -- some say a couple too many -- after winning a Super Bowl in Year 4.

Other Chicago champions: Phil Jackson, Bulls, nine seasons, six titles, the first in Year 2; Ozzie Guillen, White Sox, eight seasons, a World Series title in Year 2.

As of now, Quenneville wouldn't shock anyone if he became to the NHL what Gregg Popovich is to the NBA.

The head coach in San Antonio for 19 seasons, Popovich has said he'll stay as long as Tim Duncan is a Spur. Lately, though, he has cracked that the paycheck is too good for him to give it up.

Quenneville finds himself in a similar situation with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. If he wants to coach them their entire careers, he'll be around awhile because both players are in their mid-20s.

You never know, though: If the Hawks don't win another Stanley Cup before Quenneville hits the 10-year mark, the three he did win might start feeling like distant memories.

Right now the future must seem like forever for everyone associated with the Blackhawks.

But who knows what the future holds? Forever doesn't often last longer than 10 years, or even that long, for head coaches and managers.

It'll be interesting to see whether Joel Quenneville can be the exception that crosses that line from where he is today.

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