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'It has been a privilege': Head coach Tortorella thanks fans, Blue Jackets organization

The Blue Jackets announced John Tortorella, whose contract was set to expire at the end of the season, will not be returning to the club.
Credit: AP
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella watches the action in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Agreeing to part ways with the Columbus Blue Jackets, head coach John Tortorella thanked the organization and the fans in a statement.

The Blue Jackets announced Tortorella, whose contract was set to expire this summer, will not be returning to the club for the 2021-2022 season.

Tortorella says it has been a privilege to work with the players, coaches and hockey staff.

In the statement, he called the Columbus area a great hockey 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," Tortorella said.

Blue Jackets' general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the two have had conversations throughout the season and both agreed it was time for them to go their separate ways.

"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," Kekalainen said.

During his six years, Tortorella became the club's winningest coach in Blue Jackets history with a 227-166-54 record. 

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. 

After appearing in four straight playoff appearances from 2016-2020, Columbus finished last in the Central Division with an 18-26-21 record.

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.”

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