In a surprise announcement, Patrick Roy, Colorado Avalanche head coach and vice president of Hockey Operations, announced on Thursday that he would be stepping down from the organization with immediate effect.
Citing a lack of involvement with the organization, Roy said on the matter:
“For the past three years, I’ve performed my duties as head coach and vice president of the Colorado Avalanche hockey operations with energy, passion and determination.
Over the summer, I thought long and hard about how I could improve this team, give it the depth it needs and take it to a higher level. To achieve this, the vision of the coach and the VP Hockey Operations must be perfectly aligned with that of the organization. He must also have a say in decisions that affect the team’s performance. These conditions are currently not met. “
Roy is a four-time Stanley Cup champion as a player, winning two with the Montreal Canadiens and two with the Colorado Avalanche. As a three-time Vezina trophy winner and eleven-time All-Star, Roy ended his career on the net with 0.904 save percent and 2.77 goals against the average.
As a coach, Roy took over a Colorado organization in 2013 that had drifted without a playoff appearance in the three seasons before he took office. He turned the team around immediately, as the club has collected 112 points on the way to their first league title since 2003. He was honored with the Jack Adams Award for his efforts.
Although the Avs entered the playoffs as strong favorites, they lost a nail bit of a series to the Minnesota Wild in the first round.
The Avalanche’s success should not continue, however, as the team immediately fell off a cliff. They would finish the next two seasons with 90 and 82 points respectively.
Roy is revered as a possession maniac who isn’t afraid to play late in games. He was notorious for pulling his goalkeepers when he was 5 minutes or more behind in the game – a tactic that worked early but upset many when the gimmick lost its fortune.
The timing of the decision leaves the Avalanche without a head coach just a few months before the expected start of the season.
“We appreciate everything he has done for our organization and wish him all the best for the future,” said GM Joe Sakic. “We will start looking for a new head coach immediately.”
Pickings should be leaner than trick or treating the morning after Halloween to hire an underdog. All probabilities suggest that the organization is promoting from within in the meantime. Assistants Tim Array and Dave Farrish are early favorites, but newcomer Nolan Pratt, who comes out of an AHL Calder Cup with the Springfield Falcons, could sneak into the mix.
The (fan) speculation has already begun that the Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien will replace to make a move for Roy. The Dark Horse favorite to secure its services, however, is likely to come from none other than Sin City, who will no doubt try to put a prestigious name behind the bank that is not afraid to get creative in the franchise’s early seasons to become.