CHICAGO — For the first time since the 2007-08 season, the Chicago Blackhawks will not have Joel Quenneville behind the bench.

The Blackhawks announced Tuesday the shocking decision to fire their longtime coach after a 6-6-3 start and disappointing 33-39-10 campaign last season.

Quenneville is being replaced by Jeremy Colliton.

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"This is certainly a very difficult decision. But I believe it is in the best interests of the Blackhawks organization," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement.

"We need to maximize each and every opportunity with our playoff goals in mind and create continued growth and development throughout our roster at the same time. After much deliberation the last several days, with great respect to what Joel has meant to the Blackhawks, we knew we had to make a change. "

Quenneville compiled a 452-249-96 record in 10-plus seasons as the Blackhawks' coach. He led them to three Stanley Cup titles and into the playoffs in each year except for last. Quenneville, nicknamed "Coach Q," owns a .594 playoff winning percentage with the Blackhawks.

"All of those associated with Jeremy (Colliton) strongly believe he possesses many of the tools that will make him a successful head coach in this league," Bowman said. "He has been very impressive as a communicator, a leader, and coach. He knows the Blackhawks system, understands our players and our culture and we believe he gives us the best opportunity to have success and grow as a team.”

The 60-year-old Quenneville ranks second all-time in wins behind Scotty Bowman with 890 in 1,636 games. Prior to joining the Blackhawks, he spent eight seasons as coach of the Blues and three with the Avalanche.

Chicago is sixth in the Central Division.