The Chicago Blackhawks may not have been able to keep their entire 2012-13 Stanley Cup team together this summer, but the man leading the charge for a repeat won't be leaving anytime in the near future.
The Blackhawks' official Twitter feed announced Friday that the club and head coach Joel Quenneville had reached a three-year contract extension:
Quenneville's new deal will keep him in the Windy City through the through the 2016-17 season. His current contract was due to expire after the end of next season. The 54-year-old coach last signed an extension before the 2010-11 season.
For his part in the negotiations, Quenneville said he was "privileged" to coach the Blackhawks' wide array of talent, per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Tribune:
#Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville: "I'm privileged to coach probably the best group in the league."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 26, 2013
The club announced Quenneville's extension at a press conference Friday, as part of the kicking off of its fan convention event starting later in the evening. Financial terms on the new deal have not been disclosed at this time—though one has to assume Quenneville is due for a hefty performance-based raise.
Since taking over for Denis Savard four games into the 2008-09 season, Quenneville has pushed Chicago to a nearly unprecedented stretch of greatness for the storied franchise. The Blackhawks made the Conference Finals in his first season as coach, despite the controversial in-season replacement of the former Blackhawk Savard.
Quenneville further proved management's decision right the following season, leading Chicago to its first division title in nearly two decades en route to defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final. The triumph marked the Blackhawks' first Cup title since the 1960-61 season.
Two lean seasons followed, with Chicago unable to turn its championship into a dynasty. The Blackhawks made the playoffs in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, only to fall out of the playoffs in the first round. With a talented roster full of players who seemed in a state of inertia, Quenneville's Blackhawks walked into the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season with their backs against the wall.
They responded with one of the finest seasons in recent memory. Chicago went the entire first half of the 48-game season without losing in regulation, going 21-0-3 and setting an NHL record for most consecutive games recording a point. The Blackhawks wound up finishing the regular season 36-7-5, grabbing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with an NHL-best 77 points.
Though they faced a seven-game series against the battle-tested Detroit Red Wings in Round 2, Chicago's success continued through the playoffs. The Blackhawks bested the Boston Bruins in six games to capture their second Stanley Cup in four years, a first in club history.
Over his nearly five full seasons in Chicago, Quenneville has never finished with a losing record or missed the playoffs. The longtime NHL defenseman coached with the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues before coming to Chicago. He holds a career record of 660-389-77(ties)-74(OTL).
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