The last two seasons for the Colorado Avalanche have been very disappointing. After finishing the 2013-14 NHL regular season atop the Central Division, things started going downhill for the Avs, and head coach Patrick Roy. Although they won the first two contests against the Minnesota Wild at home in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, they lost the series in seven games. The following year, they had the worst record in their division and missed their chance at the playoffs by nine points.
While the 2015-16 NHL season fared somewhat better for Colorado, Roy once again failed to lead his team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Finishing sixth in the Central Division, they were five points short of a Wild Card berth as the ninth ranked team in the Western Conference. As reported by the YES Network, the legendary goalie and controversial coach made the announcement abruptly, catching Avs general manager Joe Sakic off-guard.
Patrick Roy issued an official statement on Thursday regarding his decision to discontinue to his position as the Colorado Avalanche’s head coach and vice president of hockey operations. In the statement, Roy said that the team wouldn’t be able to make the changes it needed if he remained head coach.
“I have thought long and hard over the course of the summer about how I might improve this team to give it the depth it needs and bring it to a higher level. To achieve this, the vision of the coach and VP-Hockey Operations needs to be perfectly aligned with that of the organization. He must also have a say in the decisions that impact the team’s performance. These conditions are not currently met.”
Despite language implying that Roy wasn’t included in the decision-making process as much as he would have liked, the statement went on to assure Avs fans that the former player and coach remains on good terms with the Colorado Avalanche.
“I am grateful to the Colorado Avalanche organization, with which I remain in good terms, for letting me lead this great team. I thank all the players I have had the pleasure of coaching and the fans for their unwavering, unconditional support. I remain forever loyal to the Avalanche with which I played 478 games, coached another 253, and won two Stanley Cups.”
Roy’s resignation gave the Avalanche exactly one month to find a replacement, if they want their new head coach to be in place before Colorado’s training camp begins on September 11.
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As noted by The Hockey Writers, former Avs and Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley is one name that many are suggesting could replace Patrick Roy. In his previous stint as Avs head coach, Hartley had a great deal of success. He had 40 or more wins in each of his first four seasons with Colorado, leading them to the Western Conference Finals every year and winning the Stanley Cup Finals in 2001. After a slow start to the 2002-03 NHL season, Hartley was fired and eventually signed with the Atlanta Thrashers. During his time with the Thrashers and the Flames, he made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs twice (once with each team) but never made it past the first round.
As noted by Mile High Sticking, Kevin Dineen is another possible replacement for Patrick Roy. Dineen is currently an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks. He played in the NHL for just under two decades, including time with the Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, and Columbus Blue Jackets. After coaching successfully in the AHL for six years, he coached the Florida Panthers to their first Stanley Cup Playoffs in 11 years. After coaching Team Canada and winning a gold medal in Women’s Hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, he landed a job with the Chicago Blackhawks.
As Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche continue their search for Patrick Roy’s replacement, they have the pressure of finding a good fit in a short amount of time. With the Avs training camp now less than four weeks away, they will undoubtedly want the new head coach to get as much time with the team as possible before the regular season begins. The 2016-17 NHL season begins for the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, October 15, at home against the Dallas Stars. Colorado’s first preseason game is set for Tuesday, September 27, in Minnesota against the Wild.
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]