The Florida Panthers announced Friday that Andrew Brunette has been elevated to interim head coach.
The move comes after Joel Quenneville resigned Thursday following the release of a detailed report of a coverup by Blackhawks senior leadership after allegations of a sexual assault were revealed.
“It’s a real sad day for hockey, with Kyle Beach and everything he’s gone through,” Brunette told the media following Friday’s morning skate. “You feel for him and what he’s had to deal with. It’s a sad day for our organization, it’s a sad day for our players, it’s a sad day for the game of hockey.” Beach made the allegations in 2010 against then-Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich. Beach was a player in Chicago’s minor league system at the time.
BLACKHAWKS: Kyle Beach comes forward | Joel Quenneville resigns
The 48-year-old Brunette, an Ontario native, takes over a team that has won seven straight games to start the season.
“I’m just trying to process,” Brunette said. “It’s been a whirlwind. I wish I could give you a better answer. I can’t explain to you. I understand the bigger issue here right now is Kyle.”
The Panthers take on the Red Wings at 7 p.m. ET Friday in Detroit, exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu.
MORE: Full details, timeline from Blackhawks sexual assault scandal
Did Andrew Brunette play in the NHL?
Brunette had a long NHL career after being drafted 174th overall in the 1993 NHL Draft by the Capitals.
From 1995 to 2012, the forward played in 1,110 games and posted 733 points (268 goals, 465 assists) for the Capitals, Predators, Thrashers, Wild, Avalanche and Blackhawks. Between 2002 and 2009, he played in 509 consecutive games.
His best overall years were with the Wild, where he collected 321 points in 489 games between two stints. With the Avalanche in 2006-07, he set career highs with 27 goals and 56 assists in 82 games playing alongside Joe Sakic. In three of Brunette’s NHL seasons, he played for Quenneville.
According to Hockey Reference, he led the NHL in shooting percentage during the 2009-10 season at 19.4 percent while with the Wild.
Brunette also scored some notable goals during his NHL career:
- 1998-99 season: First goal in Predators history
- 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals: Game-winning overtime goal for the Wild in Game 7 against the Avalanche
- 2006 Western Conference quarterfinals: Series-clinching goal for Avalanche in Game 5 over the Stars
How long has Andrew Brunette been coaching?
After officially retiring in February 2013, Brunette joined the Wild’s front office as a hockey operations adviser. He served as an assistant coach with the club in the 2014-15 season and was then the team’s assistant general manager until the end of the 2019 season.
Brunette then joined Quenneville in Florida and was an assistant coach for the last three seasons. He has never served as a head coach.
“He’s a great guy, and I’m sure he’s going to be a great coach for now,” Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau said of Brunette. “It’s not easy for everybody, but we’re going to go through it as a team.”