Joel Quenneville is Head Coach of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks and a three-time Stanley Cup Champion. He played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League as a defenceman and is a former Captain of the Windsor Spitfires.
Quenneville was born in Windsor on September 15, 1958.
His hockey career began in the Riverside Minor Hockey system, where he played travel hockey between ages 8 and 14. His Bantam Minor team was an Ontario finalist. Quenneville attended F.J. Brennan High School in Windsor, where he received Second-Team All-City hockey honours at age 14.
In 1974-75, Quenneville played for Coach Owen Freeman’s Windsor Royals in the Western Junior B league. Teams from Sarnia, London-Glencoe, Petrolia, St. Mary’s, and Stratford rounded out the competition. After a year at that level, he graduated to the Junior A Windsor Spitfires, with which he spent three seasons.
Quenneville captained the Spitfires for this final two seasons with the club. In 1977-78, his last year in Windsor, Quenneville was a Second-Team All-Star and set a single-season scoring record for a Spitfires defenceman with 27 goals and 76 assists for 103 points in 66 games. He was 11th in league scoring during a season in which Ottawa’s Bobby Smith, Sault Ste. Marie’s Wayne Gretzky, and London’s Dino Ciccarelli topped the scoring charts with 192, 181, and 142 points respectively.
The Toronto Maple Leafs selected Quenneville as their first pick (21st overall) in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft. He joined the team in the ’78-79 season, playing 61 games in Toronto and 16 for the New Brunswick Hawks in the American Hockey League. Quenneville managed 32 games with the Leafs in the following season before being traded to the Colorado Rockies (with Lanny MacDonald for Pat Hickey and Wilf Paiemant). He spent two further full seasons in Colorado before moving to the New Jersey Devils for the ’82-83 season.
After a single campaign in New Jersey, Quenneville joined the Hartford Whalers, where he would enjoy seven successful seasons. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Defenceman in 1984-85 and ’85-86. Quenneville’s Whalers were Adams Division Champions in ’86-87.
Quenneville played nine games of the 1990-91 season for the Washington Capitals but spent the bulk of the campaign with the Baltimore Skipjacks in the AHL. All in all, Quenneville scored 54 goals and 144 assists for 198 points in 835 career NHL games.
Quenneville closed out his playing days in ’91-92 as a player-coach with the St. John’s Maple Leafs, also in the AHL. A Second-Team All-Star that year, Quenneville led the team to the playoff finals. He returned to St. John’s in the following season, this time as Assistant Coach. He spent one year in the role before accepting a Head Coach job with the Springfield Indians in the same league.
Quenneville returned to Colorado to spend three seasons as an NHL Assistant Coach with the Avalanche. He was instrumental in the team’s drive to its first Stanley Cup in 1995-96; the Avalanche swept the Florida Panthers in the best-of-seven finals.
Due in part to that success, Quenneville was named Head Coach of the St. Louis Blues on January 6, 1997, becoming the 19th Head Coach in the team’s history. In ’99-2000 he received the Jack Adams Award, which is presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association each year to the NHL coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” St. Louis won the Western Conference and Central Division Championships that year with a 51-20-11 record and 114 points in the regular season.
Quenneville has enjoyed some of his most successful moments in hockey following his induction into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. He remained behind the Blues’ bench until the 2003-04 season, over one year after his induction. Quenneville lost his job in St. Louis but bounced back in 2005-06 to return to the Avalanche – this time as Head Coach. In the ’08-09 season, he started work coaching the Chicago Blackhawks, where he would enjoy the most successful spell of his coaching career. Quenneville’s team won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013, defeating Philadelphia and Boston in the Finals.
As of 2015, he is still coaching in Chicago.