On Monday, the National Hockey League announced that they had named Stéphane Quintal as Senior Vice President of Player Safety, a role he had assumed as interim since April 11, 2014, when Brendan Shanahan left the position to become the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The NHL went through what they described as “an extensive evaluation process” in which they interviewed a number of qualified candidates before they came to the conclusion that the “goals and objectives of the Department of Player Safety would be served best under Quintal’s continued leadership.”
The position of Senior Vice President of Player Safety is perhaps one of the most thankless jobs when it comes to comments from fans. Regardless of the decision made after an incident, there is always a vocal group to point out that the Senior Vice President got it wrong. However, Quintal has been involved in the Department of Player Safety since its inception during the opening of the 2011-12 season. And having served as the interim Senior Vice President during the most intense period of the entire season—the last week of the regular season and the entire postseason—Quintal is already very aware of the heat that he is likely to receive from the fans, and perhaps even a few of the more vocal coaches. Of course, he also understands the job and that his focus needs to be on the players and keeping them safe, regardless of what others may say about his decisions.
“Stéphane Quintal has been dedicated to the mission of the Department of Player Safety since its creation for the opening of the 2011-12 season and has demonstrated over the last several months that he is uniquely suited to lead the department going forward,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Brendan Shanahan established and built a highly-functioning and well-run departmetn in his three years at its helm. Among his most important decisions was hiring Stéphane Quintal to be part of his supervisory team.”
Quintal –like Shanahan before him—has extensive experience as a player, having spent 16 NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins, St.Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks. The Boucherville, Québec native was selected by the Bruins in the first round (14th overall) in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. During his NHL career, he appeared in 1,037 NHL games, scoring 63 goals and 180 assists, while accruing 1,320 penalty minutes.
Not an easy job to be sure, but clearly one that the NHL and Quintal feel he is right for. It is hoped that the explanations and videos will persist so that there continues to be some manner of transparency when it comes to the discipline of infractions.
The complete press release and a five minute interview with Quintal about his new position can be found here.