Tortorella’s tenure behind Blue Jackets’ bench over after 6 seasons

John Tortorella will not return to the Columbus Blue Jackets next season, with the NHL team stating in a news release Sunday it has agreed to part ways with the head coach.

Tortorella, whose contract is set to expire at the end of this season, would like to continue coaching in the league, The Athletic reported.

His decision to leave the Blue Jackets followed a conversation about the direction of the team with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.

“It has been a privilege to work with the players, coaches and hockey operations staff, which is one of the best in the league,” Tortorella said in a statement released by the team.

“My family and I have loved living and working in the area. We have made life-long friends here, so we do feel considerable sadness, which is to be expected, when something so meaningful comes to an end.  This is a great hockey community.”

The 62-year-old is the Blue Jackets’ winningest coach with a 227-166-54 record in five-plus seasons. Tortorella’s 673 victories across 20 seasons rank 12th in NHL history.

WATCH | Tortorella’s expletive-laden January 2020 news conference:

In an expletive-laden post-match press conference, Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella ripped into NHL officials for refusing to add time to the clock before Zach Werenski’s potential game-winner was waved off because time had expired. 0:58

The Boston native guided Columbus to four consecutive Stanley Cup playoff appearances from 2016 to 2020 and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2017 and 2020. He won in 2017 after the Blue Jackets posted 108 points with a franchise-best 50-24-8 record.

“Torts and I have had numerous conversations throughout the season, and we have agreed that the time is right for both he and the club to go our separate ways,” Kekalainen said. “He is a great coach and his accomplishments with our club over the past six seasons speak for themselves.

“He has played an integral role in our success since his arrival, and we are extremely grateful for his passion and commitment to the Blue Jackets and our city.  He was the right coach at the right time and helped us establish a standard that we will carry forward.”

Blue Jackets assistant coaches Brad Shaw and Brad Larsen also are on expiring contracts, according to The Athletic, which added they could each be interviewed for the head-coaching job.

Goaltending coach Manny Legace is under contract for next season.

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