NHL commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t sure if he’ll be open to reinstating Joel Quenneville if the former coach asks to return to the league.
“I don’t know. That’s something I’ll have to address with him directly,” Bettman told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap on Friday’s episode of The Point.
Quenneville resigned as Florida Panthers head coach last October after an investigation revealed how the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that former player Kyle Beach was sexually abused by an assistant coach in 2010. Quenneville was the head coach of that team, which captured the Stanley Cup that season.
That resignation came after a meeting in New York with Bettman, who said that “all parties agreed that it was no longer appropriate that he continue to serve as Florida’s head coach.”
The NHL didn’t formally suspend Quenneville, but Bettman said that if Quenneville wanted another NHL position he would “require a meeting in advance in order to determine the appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place.”
Bettman told Schaap that Quenneville has expressed a general desire to return to the NHL, though not for a specific job opening.
“He has indicated that he would, at the appropriate time, like to be part of the game again,” said Bettman. “I don’t think this is the time. But we’ll see what happens in the future.”
The commissioner said it was clear that Quenneville had “let the game down” with his actions.
“A head coach, any coach, has a responsibility to the people who are entrusted to that person,” Bettman told Schaap. “What he needs to do, or hasn’t done, I think at this stage it’s between him and me.”
Quenneville said at the time of his resignation that he “expressed sorrow” for the pain that Beach suffered.
“My former team, the Blackhawks, failed Kyle and I own my share of that,” Quenneville said in a statement at the time to TSN. “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.”
Quenneville is the second-winningest coach in NHL history, his 969 victories trailing only the 1,244 amassed by Scotty Bowman. He has previously coached the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, the Blackhawks and the Panthers.