Hawks’ Quenneville 'proud to be American’



CHICAGO– Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had a plan in place if his team advanced deep in the playoffs and he had to miss his United States citizenship test. That plan proved to be unnecessary; the Hawks’ first-round exit gave him the opportunity to complete the process as scheduled.Quenneville„You kind of need to be in one place for a while because it can take more than a year or so but I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” Quenneville said Tuesday. „The process was easy. When you get to a certain age the test isn’t quite as hard.”

Quenneville has been working in the U.S. for over 30 years and felt with an American family and job, the time was right for him to become a citizen. He finished the process on May 24.

„I’m proud to be American,” Quenneville said. „My daughters are American, my family is American. I’m glad I did it.”

And now Quenneville can get back to preparing for the upcoming season. He’s seen the Hawks jettison 15 players from his Stanley Cup team of 2010, but he’s as optimistic as ever.

„You look at the parts we have remaining, these are all significant parts to building a top team,” he said. „It’s a great core, great nucleus. All top end guys. This year we have a little bit more control over our needs.”

After letting the likes of Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, John Madden, Kris Versteeg, Adam Burish and Ben Eager move on Quenneville knows the Hawks were short on grit and personality last season as well as size.

„Last year we moved quality parts and we didn’t really get a chance to replace them,” Quenneville said. „Visiting the free-agent market in a whole other avenue [than last year] is something we are looking forward to doing.”

Free agency begins Friday and with the Hawks trading Tomas Kopecky, Brian Campbell and Troy Brouwer recently, they have created room for additions. And this time they can dictate the terms.

„You can go into the market with a lot of ambition to be excited but it can lead sometimes to disappointment,” Quenneville said. „Everyone has a wish list and it’s not always going to go the way you hope but the opportunity for players to live and play in Chicago has to be enticing.”

And the newcomers, along with the holdovers, will get to play for a U.S. citizen. Quenneville’s offseason has gone well. He’s hoping it gets better starting Friday.

Jesse Rogers ESPNChicago.com

Photo: zimbio.com