Blackhawks planning to honor Joel Quenneville during Tuesday return with Panthers

Quenneville will face the Hawks for the first time, shortly after being named the NHL’s Coach of the Decade for his three Stanley Cups in Chicago.

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Legendary former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, now coaching the Panthers, will face the Hawks for the first time on Tuesday.

Legendary former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, now coaching the Panthers, will face the Hawks for the first time on Tuesday.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

For the first time since Oct. 28, 2018, Joel Quenneville will be behind a United Center bench Tuesday, coaching an NHL game.

There will be just one slight difference: It’ll be the visiting bench.

Quenneville’s return to the UC as the coach of the Panthers has been anticipated since last spring. He’s the most successful coach in Hawks history and the second-winningest in NHL history.

The Hawks are planning to honor the man known simply as “Q.”

“It’s a big night for the organization, and he was great to me, so I want to honor him, too,” successor Jeremy Colliton said Sunday. “Because a big part of the reason why I came here to begin with is because he was here. So obviously [I] want to beat him.”

The game comes at a crucial time for the Hawks, partly because of their 11-4-0 surge and partly because of the 10-day break for the All-Star Game and bye week that follow.

Regardless of the planned video-board programming, Quenneville is likely to receive an enormous ovation from fans. It might be a bit strange for some of his longtime players, but Patrick Kane said he was looking forward to it.

“He’s like an icon in Chicago, whether it’s him winning three Stanley Cups [or] coming in and helping us become better players,” Kane said. “Obviously, what he’s done here in his career is amazing. I’m sure he’ll get a warm reception. It will be good to see him.”

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