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Quenneville still needs clearance, but 'strong possibility' exists of NHL return

Joel Quenneville Joel Quenneville - The Canadian Press

While Joel Quenneville still requires clearance from the NHL to return, it appears the three-time Stanley Cup winner could be back behind a bench next season.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports that with the existing coaching vacancies and speculation around a coaching change for the New York Rangers, Quenneville’s return is "a strong possibility" this off-season.

Dreger adds that a formal interview request will likely encourage the commissioner's approval.

Quenneville resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers in the fall of 2021 after specifics were revealed of how the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that a player was sexually abused by an assistant coach in 2010 during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup that season. Quenneville was Chicago’s head coach when the abuse occurred.

Bettman said last May that Quenneville had not approached him at that time about reinstatement into the league.

“There’s nothing currently happening with Joel,” Bettman said. “And if and when there’s a real conversation to be had, then I’ll focus on it at the time.”

“I assume it’d be initiated by Joel, if and when he thinks it’s the appropriate time and he feels that he’s ready to come back and there’s an opportunity,” he added of the process. “But again, I’ll have to make an evaluation at that time.”

Quenneville is the second-winningest coach in NHL history, with his 969 victories trailing only the 1,244 amassed by Scotty Bowman.