As rumored and expected for weeks, Blue Jackets and head coach John Tortorella mutually agree to part ways

John Tortorella ( photo)

MAY 9, 2021

Tortorella compiled a 227-166-54 record in 447 games in six seasons with Columbus

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets and head coach John Tortorella, whose contract expired at the end of the 2020-21 season, have mutually agreed to part ways, club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. 

Tortorella, 62, is the winningest coach in Blue Jackets history, guiding the club to a 227-166-54 record (.568 points percentage) in 447 games since being named head coach of the club on Oct. 21, 2015.  He led the Blue Jackets to four-straight appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs from 2016-20 and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year in 2016-17 and 2019-20.  He won the award in 2016-17 after Columbus posted the best record in franchise history with a 50-24-8 (108 pts.) mark. 

A Boston native, Tortorella owns a career record of 673-541-169 in 1,383 career games with the Blue Jackets, Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.  He won his first Jack Adams Award in 2003-04 after leading the Lightning to the Stanley Cup championship.  He is the winningest U.S.-born coach in NHL history as he ranks first in wins and games coached.

Statement from Jarmo Kekalainen

“Torts and I have had numerous conversations throughout the season, and we have agreed that the time is right for both he and the club to go our separate ways.  He is a great coach and his accomplishments with our club over the past six seasons speak for themselves.  He has played an integral role in our success since his arrival, and we are extremely grateful for his passion and commitment to the Blue Jackets and our city.  He was the right coach at the right time and helped us establish a standard that we will carry forward.”

Statement from John Tortorella

“After discussion and consideration of the future direction of the team, Jarmo and I have come to a mutual agreement to part ways.  I’d like to thank the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for the opportunity to coach this team and live in the great Columbus-area.  It has been a privilege to work with the players, coaches and hockey operations staff, which is one of the best in the League.  Also, I want to thank the CBJ fans and the community for the support they’ve given the team and for the work of the CBJ family in support of the community.

“My family and I have loved living and working in the area.  We have made life-long friends here, so we do feel considerable sadness, which is to be expected, when something so meaningful comes to an end.  This is a great hockey community and I wish everyone here great success moving forward.  Thank you again.”



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