Joel Quenneville's three-year contract extension will keep him behind the Blackhawks' bench through the 2016-17 season, which is great news for his players.
"He certainly earned the extension," winger Patrick Sharp said following Friday's announcement that kicked off the team's sixth annual convention. "He's right up there at the top of the league as far as what he has done in his career. It's no secret that about a quarter of the players kind of came into their own once Joel took the team over. He was able to tie everything together. He's our leader."
Quenneville has led the Hawks to two Stanley Cups in his first five seasons in Chicago, becoming the first coach in franchise history to win two championships. His .652 winning percentage during the regular season is the best in team history and he is 45-28 in the playoffs.
With 660 career wins, Quenneville leads all active coaches and was a finalist this season for the Jack Adams Trophy for coach of the year.
"His system is terrific and he has a good feel for the players, but he doesn't have to be buddy-buddy with them," Hawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said.
Quenneville is thrilled to stay in Chicago, where he is among a rare club of coaches to win two titles, joining the Bears' George Halas, the Bulls' Phil Jackson and the Cubs' Frank Chance.
Quenneville made it a point to thank the players, many of whom showed up at the news conference to announce his extension.
"They're a big part of it," Quenneville said. "They're a thrill to coach. They make it rewarding and get you excited about going to the rink. I'm privileged to coach probably the best group in the league. As far as the character, the quality and the leadership, we have all the intangibles that can make a team successful.
"I feel very fortunate to be a part of this organization," Quenneville said. "It's a special place to work and play. We love everything about Chicago. I feel very privileged to be a part of something special here and winning here makes it even more enjoyable. From top to bottom there are a million reasons why it's such a perfect spot here."
Captain Jonathan Toews pointed out how Quenneville's history as a player makes him an ideal coach.
"We like that consistency, we like knowing what to expect from our coaching staff," Toews said. "That's one of the big reasons why we've had success, the every day things we learn from our coaching staff. There's a good relationship there."
Patrick Kane mentioned the importance of the days off Quenneville gave the team last season in order to keep them fresh for the playoffs.
"He's been a great coach as far as making sure we're getting our rest and making sure we're getting time off," Kane said. "We really appreciate that with him, and we're very lucky and fortunate to have him here for a long time. Hopefully we can win a few more championships together."
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman summed up Quenneville's resume this way:
"There's no one we want coaching this team more than Joel," said Bowman. "He's done a fantastic job over the years and the record speaks for itself. The team has had a consistent performance year after year, obviously culminating in the ultimate, winning the Stanley Cup two times. We're really fortunate to have him here."
Quenneville took over from Denis Savard early in the 2008-09 season.
"Joel's obviously had a presence here since day one," Bowman said. "He has a presence behind the bench and we've got a lot of faith that he's going to get things done. I believe, as an organization, that stability is important and when you have success you want to continue that."