NHL News: To no one’s surprise, Chicago Blackhawks fire head coach Jeremy Colliton; Derek King to take over as interim head coach

11/6/2021  3:00 PM

The Chicago Blackhawks have relieved Jeremy Colliton, Tomas Mitell and Sheldon Brookbank of their coaching duties and have named Derek King Interim Head Coach, effective immediately. Anders Sorensen will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Rockford IceHogs beginning tonight.

Marc Crawford, Jimmy Waite, Matt Meacham and Dylan Crawford will remain on the Blackhawks coaching staff in their current positions. Additionally, Chris Kunitz will remain in his role as Player Development Advisor with the Blackhawks.

King, 54, has been the head coach of Rockford since being hired on April 25, 2019. He previously served as interim head coach from Nov. 6, 2018 through the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Prior to taking over behind the bench, King worked as an assistant coach on the IceHogs’ staff from 2016-18, originally being named to the position on July 7, 2016.

King joined the IceHogs after stints as an assistant and associate coach with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL from 2009-15. With the Marlies, he helped the team capture one Western Conference Championship (2012) and three North Division Championships (2012-14).

The Hamilton, Ontario, native played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League, beginning with the New York Islanders during the 1986-87 campaign. He was originally selected in the first round (13th overall) of the 1985 NHL Draft by the Islanders. King also played for the Hartford Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues during his NHL career. He recorded 612 points (261G, 351A) in 830 career regular-season games. King added four goals and 17 helpers in 47 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Sorensen was in his third season as assistant coach of Rockford. He previously served as a development coach for the Blackhawks and IceHogs from 2014-18. Sorensen was promoted to assistant coach on Jan. 4, 2019.

Prior to working with the Blackhawks, the Södertälje, Sweden, native spent the 2014-15 season as head coach of the Chicago Mission U16 club and the 2010-11 season as head coach of the Chicago Mission U18 team.

Sorensen was also previously an assistant coach with the Swedish Hockey League’s Södertälje from 2011-13, before serving as interim head coach in October 2013.


STATEMENTS FROM CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS LEADERSHIP


BLACKHAWKS CEO DANNY WIRTZ

“It has been an extremely difficult couple of weeks for our organization, and we have had to come to terms with a number of necessary changes. As we look to move forward, we know we must earn back the trust of our fans, and we are grateful for the support of our entire community as we work to do just that. On the ice, Interim General Manager Kyle Davidson has our full confidence and autonomy to make hockey decisions, and we support him on this coaching change. We appreciate all that Jeremy has brought to the Blackhawks, and we look forward to working with Derek as our interim head coach while we work to rebuild our permanent hockey operations leadership.”


INTERIM GENERAL MANAGER KYLE DAVIDSON

“Our on-ice goal remains the same: to build an elite system of hockey – and we have not delivered on that. The fact is our play and competitiveness must improve. Every game, every shift. Today’s coaching changes are difficult, especially given the incredible personal connections Jeremy and others have made with our players in their development. We appreciate Jeremy’s contributions to the organization over the last three seasons, and we wish him and his family the best.

We appreciate Derek’s willingness to step in behind the bench as we embark on our search for our next permanent head coach. His NHL experience as a player and work with our younger players in Rockford over the last four years gives us great confidence in his ability to lead the Chicago Blackhawks in this interim role.”


INTERIM HEAD COACH DEREK KING

“This team has a lot of talent-talent that I am familiar with from my time in the organization-and I look forward to working with them behind the bench. I appreciate the support from Kyle Davidson and Danny Wirtz through this process and I cannot wait to get going. I understand my role and position and ready to do the work necessary to help the organization succeed.”

COURTESY CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS COMMUNICATIONS

Posted in NHL
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