(670 The Score) Mired in an abysmal start, the Blackhawks have fired coach Jeremy Colliton, they announced Saturday afternoon.
Chicago is currently 1-9-2, and its four points are the second-fewest in the entire NHL. The Blackhawks’ 0-7-2 start marked their worst in franchise history. Derek King will serve as the interim head coach. He previously was the head coach of the AHL Rockford Icehogs.
“It has been an extremely difficult couple of weeks for our organization, and we have had to come to terms with a number of necessary changes,” Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in a statement. “As we look to move forward, we know we must earn back the trust of our fans, and we are grateful for the support of our entire community as we work to do just that. On the ice, interim general manager Kyle Davidson has our full confidence and autonomy to make hockey decisions, and we support him on this coaching change. We appreciate all that Jeremy has brought to the Blackhawks, and we look forward to working with Derek as our interim head coach while we work to rebuild our permanent hockey operations leadership.”
Additionally, the Blackhawks fired assistant coaches Tomas Mitell and Sheldon Brookbank. Marc Crawford, Jimmy Waite, Matt Meacham and Dylan Crawford will remain on the coaching staff.
Colliton took over for the Blackhawks in November 2018 after Joel Quenneville was fired. Colliton amassed an 87-92-26 record across parts of four seasons.
The only time the Blackhawks made the playoffs under Colliton’s watch was as the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference in the 2019-’20 season, when the postseason was expanded to 24 teams amid the pandemic. Chicago was victorious in the initial extra round before being bounced in the traditional round of 16.
“Our on-ice goal remains the same: to build an elite system of hockey – and we have not delivered on that,” Davidson said in a statement. “The fact is our play and competitiveness must improve – every game, every shift. Today’s coaching changes are difficult, especially given the incredible personal connections Jeremy and others have made with our players in their development. We appreciate Jeremy’s contributions to the organization over the last three seasons, and we wish him and his family the best.
"We appreciate Derek’s willingness to step in behind the bench as we embark on our search for our next permanent head coach. His NHL experience as a player and work with our younger players in Rockford over the last four years gives us great confidence in his ability to lead the Chicago Blackhawks in this interim role.”
King, 54, will now lead the Blackhawks from the bench. He had been the Icehogs’ head coach since April 2019.
“This team has a lot of talent — talent that I am familiar with from my time in the organization — and I look forward to working with them behind the bench," King said in a statement. "I appreciate the support from Kyle Davidson and Danny Wirtz through this process, and I cannot wait to get going. I understand my role and position and ready to do the work necessary to help the organization succeed.”