The Panthers are on the lookout for a new head coach after the team announced on Thursday that Joel Quenneville has resigned. Panthers President and CEO Matt Caldwell released the following statement:
After the release of the Jenner & Block investigative report on Tuesday afternoon, we have continued to diligently review the information within that report, in addition to new information that has recently become available. It should go without saying that the conduct described in that report is troubling and inexcusable. It stands in direct contrast to our values as an organization and what the Florida Panthers stand for. No one should ever have to endure what Kyle Beach experienced during, and long after, his time in Chicago. Quite simply, he was failed. We praise his bravery and courage in coming forward.
Following a meeting today with Commissioner Bettman at National Hockey League offices, which was part of the league’s process to decide how to move forward, Joel made the decision to resign and the Florida Panthers accepted that resignation.
The independent investigation referenced in the above statement was released on Tuesday with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and Senior VP of Hockey Operations Al MacIssac both leaving the organization immediately thereafter. Quenneville had previously denied being aware of the allegations having been made but the report squashed that assertion. As a result, Quenneville met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday.
Shortly following Florida’s announcement, Quenneville released a statement of his own:
With deep regret and contrition, I announce my resignation as head coach of the Florida Panthers.
I want to express my sorrow for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered.
My former team the Blackhawks failed Kyle and I own my share of that.
I want to reflect on how all of this happened and take the time to educate myself on ensuring hockey spaces are safe for everyone.
Should Quenneville wish to return to the NHL at some point, Bettman indicated in a statement of his own that “a meeting with him in advance in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place”. No further disciplinary action will be coming to the 63-year-old.
Quenneville had three years remaining on his contract (including this one) with a $5.25MM salary plus more than $1MM in bonuses, per CapFriendly. It’s unknown at this time if there is any sort of settlement agreement in place between Quenneville and the Panthers.
The Panthers are off to a hot start this season with a 7-0-0 record to sit first in the league and assistant coach Andrew Brunette will take over as interim head coach, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (Twitter link). A search for a permanent head coach will soon be underway.
In the meantime, ESPN’s Kevin Weekes, who first reported that a change was coming, suggests that veteran bench boss John Tortorella could be a potential candidate to take over behind the bench. Florida GM Bill Zito is certainly familiar with Tortorella having been with Columbus between 2015 and 2020 and with the team performing well for a veteran head coach, it would make sense to go down that path again. Bruce Boudreau, Rick Tocchet, Claude Julien, and Mike Babcock are among the other veteran head coaches that are currently not working in the NHL at the moment.