CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 19: Head coach Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks watches his team take on the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center on February 19, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, the hockey world was set into shock when the Chicago Blackhawks fired beloved coach Joel Quenneville. Coach Q is a future Hall of Famer, who also has the second most all-time wins by an NHL head coach. Add three Stanley Cups on his resume. The man is for sure a first ballot Hall of Famer.

His future may be in a bit of doubt. It became clear that a drastic change needed to occur in the Blackhawks organization. I’ve struggled to write this letter even though I knew that sooner or later it was going to happen. Sooner or later Coach Q would leave the organization. Whether it be by retirement in a blaze of glory or in an unceremonious firing was the true question.

As a fan I’m in two minds, on one hand, I understand that change was, is and always will be inevitable. He was going to retire or leave at some point anyway. So I knew this day would come. As a writer, this is great for potential articles in the future. On the other side of the same coin, I’m going to miss having him as our leader. It’s obviously a shame that his time in the Windy City had to end on this kind of note.  Although I haven’t agreed with every decision that he’s made, I understand that he has the same intent that we all have as fans, the intent to win.

So, as a fan, not as a writer, I wrote this letter as something of a tribute to him.

Dear Coach Q, 

Thank you.

Thank you for weathering criticism both unwarranted and otherwise. And thank you for coaching the Blackhawks through a golden age that we haven’t seen since the days of Mikita and Hull. I’m fortunate to have hit my mature years during the resurrection of hockey in Chicago and I’m glad you adopted the tradition of Chicago coaches that are successful (Mike Ditka, Phil Jackson, Ozzie Guillen.) Of growing a mustache so powerful that it lead us to victory.

All jokes aside, although I didn’t agree with every decision you made I understood that you had the intention of winning. That’s the only thing we madhouse on Madison faithful wanted for so long. A winning team. To be honest, before you came to Chicago we just wanted to be able to watch the team on television locally. We would have taken a mid-tier squad with the promise that we were at least going to be somewhat relevant again. And although you unseated a Chicago Blackhawks legend in Denis Savard as head coach, it was for the greater good.

We weren’t dreaming of anything like you’ve accomplished.

Your time here came to an end in a sudden and emotional manner. I understand that for every beginning there must be an end.

So from a Blackhawks Fan, thank you.

Signed, Brandon Houston.

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