Despite his age (33) and experience (1-plus years at the pro hockey level), Rockford IceHogs Coach Jeremy Colliton was promoted to head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks today after the firing of Joel Quenneville.
The Blackhawks also announced that Derek King will serve as interim head coach with the IceHogs. Assistant Coach Sheldon Brookbank will remain in that capacity.
King, 51, was named assistant coach of the IceHogs on July 7, 2016 and is currently in his third season with the team. Prior to joining the Blackhawks organization, he worked as assistant and associate coach with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL from 2009-15. With the Marlies, he helped the team win one Western Conference Championship (2012) and three North Division Championships (2012, 2013, 2014).
The Hamilton, Ontario, native had a 14-year National Hockey League career that began with the New York Islanders during the 1986-87 season. After 11 seasons with the Islanders, King also played with the Hartford Whalers and Toronto Maple Leafs. His last stop in the NHL came during the 1999-2000 season, playing for the St. Louis Blues.
King totaled 261 goals and 351 assists in 830 career NHL games. In 47 career Stanley Cup Playoffs games, he recorded 21 points (4G, 17A). He was originally selected as the 13th overall pick in the 1985 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders.
Colliton becomes the youngest head coach currently in the NHL. He was 12 games into his second season with the IceHogs and led the IceHogs to a record of 40-28-4-4 in 2017-18, when Rockford reached the AHL Western Conference Finals for the first time ever. Colliton was named IceHogs head coach on May 18, 2017—his first coaching job in North America.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks organization, Colliton spent four seasons as the head coach of Mora IK in Sweden (HockeyAllsvenskan). A native of Blackie, Alberta, Colliton guided his team to a league-best 35-13-4 record and 105 points during the 2016-17 season. Following the regular season, he led Mora IK to promotion to the Swedish Hockey League for the 2017-18 season after defeating Leksands IF in six games (4-2) of the best-of-seven series. Colliton joined the coaching ranks with Mora IK in an interim head coaching role during the 2013-14 season before taking over full-time the following season. In four seasons with Colliton behind the bench, Mora IK posted a 98-57-18 record.
Prior to becoming a coach, Colliton had an eight-year professional career primarily in the NHL and AHL. He appeared in 57 NHL games across five seasons (2005-09, 2010-11) with the New York Islanders, notching three goals and three assists. He was originally drafted by the Islanders in the second round (58th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft.
Along with the firing of Quenneville, the Blackhawks also parted ways with assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson. The rest of the Blackhawks coaching staff will remain with the team. Also, the Blackhawks named Barry Smith an assistant coach on Colliton’s staff.
Quenneville is the second-winningest head coach in Blackhawks history, registering a record of 452-249-96 in 797 games since 2008. He owns the best playoff record in Blackhawks history, compiling a record of 76-52 including three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013 and 2015). His Blackhawks teams made the playoffs in nine of 10 seasons and he stood as the longest tenured head coach in the NHL after being hired by Chicago on Oct. 16, 2008. He is the second-winningest coach in NHL history with an all-time record of 890-532-214.