Rumors began surfacing this week that Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy would be named the next head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, and the team made it official on Thursday. Roy won two Stanley Cups as a member of the Avalanche over an eight year span after 10 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, and he will now look to lead the team back to it’s former status as a contender in the Western Conference.
He’s also been named the vice president of hockey operations, joining former teammate Joe Sakic, who was hired earlier this month. Avalanche president Josh Kroenke made it official in a statement, giving Roy the reigns behind the bench at the Pepsi Center.
“This is a very exciting day for our fans and a significant moment in our organization’s history,” Kroenke said in the Avalanche’s press release. “Patrick’s passion for the game of hockey both as a player and as a coach defines who he is as a person. He is a winner and is coming back to Denver where he created numerous special moments on and off the ice while helping lead us to two Stanley Cup championships.”
His old buddy Joe Sakic, who will also be responsible for getting the Avalanche back to playoff form, also chimed in on the decision to have Roy lead the team.
“All along Patrick was our top candidate and we are thrilled that he has decided to accept this offer,” Sakic said about his old teammate. “Patrick has a great hockey mind, is a tremendous coach and there is no one more passionate about this game. He will bring that winning attitude to our dressing room to help this young team grow.”
The task ahead will be a tough one, as the Avalanche have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and five of their last seven. Before their struggles, the Avalanche clinched a playoff berth in their first nine seasons after the franchise moved from Quebec.
Patrick Roy will replace Joe Sacco, who was fired from his post as head coach shortly after the 2013 regular season ended. During his four-year span leading the Avalanche, Sacco managed a 130-134-30 record while only appearing in the playoffs once.
The 2009-10 playoffs experience was short lived for the Avalanche, as the team was knocked out in the quarterfinals by the San Jose Sharks in six games.
Can Patrick Roy lead the Avalanche back to the playoffs in 2014 or will it take time to rebuild on the legacy he started in 1995 as a player?
[Image via Jessica C]