Savard, fired after four games, rejoins Blackhawks as ambassador

CHICAGO -- Former coach Denis Savard is back with the Chicago Blackhawks.

A Hockey Hall of Fame player and one of the franchise's most popular figures, Savard returned to the organization as a team ambassador on Thursday after being fired as coach last month. He joins former Blackhawks Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in the community relations role.

"I have been very fortunate to be a part of this organization, to wear these colors, for so long and this gives me the chance to continue to be a part of something I love," Savard said in a statement. "Today is a great day for me and my family."

With a promising young core led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks had high expectations after missing the playoffs nine of the past 10 seasons, but a slow start cost Savard his job. They were 1-2-1 when the organization replaced him with Joel Quenneville in a move that woke up a team that is now second in the Central division with 18 points.

Drafted by the Blackhawks in 1980, Savard spent 13 of his 17 seasons with the team and served as an assistant before becoming head coach in November 2006. He finished that season with a 24-30-7 record in 61 games and led Chicago to its first 40-win season since 2001-02 last year, when the Blackhawks went 40-34-8.

"It is important to our fans and organization that Denis remains a part of our family," team president John McDonough said in a statement. "He is a very classy individual that embodies the spirit of the Chicago Blackhawks."