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Blue Jackets, head coach Tortorella agree to part ways

According to a release from the club, head coach John Tortorella's contract was set to expire at the end of the season.
Credit: AP
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella watches against the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets and head coach John Tortorella have agreed to part ways, according to the club.

Tortorella's contract was set to expire at the end of the 2020-2021 season.

Spending six seasons with Columbus, Tortorella is the winningest coach in Blue Jackets history with a 227-166-54 record in 447 games.

Tortorella led the Blue Jackets to four straight playoff appearances from 2016-2020. He also won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's Coach of the Year for the 2016-2017 season.

In a statement, Tortorella thanked the Blue Jackets organization, the fans and called it a privilege to work with the club.

“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," Tortorella said.

"This is a great hockey community and I wish everyone here great success moving forward. Thank you again.”

Tortorella has coached in the league since 1999 with the Rangers, Lightning, Canucks and Blue Jackets.

Despite winning Saturday night, Columbus finished last in the Central Division.

The long-time coach won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004.

Before Tortorella, Columbus had never made it past the first round of the playoffs before leading the Blue Jackets to a 4-0 sweep of the Lightning in 2019.

Columbus ended up losing to the Boston Bruins in the second round.

Full statement from Tortorella:

“After discussion and consideration of the future direction of the team, Jarmo and I have come to a mutual agreement to part ways.  I’d like to thank the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for the opportunity to coach this team and live in the great Columbus-area.  It has been a privilege to work with the players, coaches and hockey operations staff, which is one of the best in the League.  Also, I want to thank the CBJ fans and the community for the support they’ve given the team and for the work of the CBJ family in support of the community.

“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 and I wish everyone here great success moving forward. Thank you again.”