Two weeks ago today, Patrick Roy gave notice of his resignation as head coach and vice president of hockey operations of the Colorado Avalanche. The announcement came somewhat abruptly, so much so that it caught executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic off guard. After failing to get the Avs to the Stanley Cup Playoffs two years in a row, the legendary goalie stepped down from his position. While it seems there may have been some disagreement on exactly how the team should be run, Roy says he remains on very good terms with the Colorado Avalanche team and fans.
With just over a month left before they begin the 2016-17 NHL preseason, the Avs announced today that Roy’s replacement had been found. As reported by the Denver Post, Jared Bednar is the new head coach of the Colorado Avalanche.
Who Is Jared Bednar?
This will be Jared Bednar’s first gig as a head coach in the NHL. He’s been coaching professionally for the last 14 years. He spent seven years in the American Hockey League, following seven years in the ECHL. Having been successful in both leagues, he looks to continue that success with the Colorado Avalanche.
After retiring as a player, Bednar took a position with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. By his sixth season, he was the head coach. In his seventh season, he led the Stingrays as they won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup.
He would move on to an assistant coach position in the AHL and would eventually catch the eye of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He remained with their AHL affiliate as they transitioned from the Springfield Falcons to the Lake Erie Monsters. He was the head coach in 2014 and won the 2016 Calder Cup playoffs in June.
Prior to coaching, Bednar’s career on the ice included time in the AHL, ECHL and IHL. Not unlike Patrick Roy, he went on to coach the last team that he played for. He was a part of two Kelly Cup-winning lineups with South Carolina.
Joe Sakic on Jared Bednar
Forced to make a quick decision, the Avs signed Bednar just two weeks after Roy resigned. They were able to make the decision with nearly two weeks left before training camp, and Sakic sounded confident in the selection when he issued an official statement on the Colorado Avalanche website.
“I believe that Jared Bednar is the best person to lead this team behind the bench. Jared’s track record of success as a head coach in the American Hockey League speaks for itself and he is considered to be one of the top up-and-coming coaches in our business. Even though we had to accelerate the process with training camp approaching, we feel we met some real strong candidates with a lot of potential to become head coaches in the NHL in the near future.”
After falling five points short of earning a playoff berth last season, the Avs hope Bednar can help them return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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As Bednar adjusts to life in Denver, he will have at least a few familiar faces to work with. Avs newly-hired assistant coach Nolan Pratt was also Bednar’s assistant in Lake Erie. Additionally, Colorado general manager Chris McFarland briefly worked for the Monsters while Jared was there.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) August 25, 2016
The new coach will need to be ready to dive right in as training camp for the Colorado Avalanche begins on September 11. The team’s first NHL preseason game is scheduled for September 27, while the 2016-17 NHL season begins for the Avs on October 15.
[Image via Lake Erie Monsters]