DENVER—It all started so promisingly.
There he was, a hall-of-famer who had won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche. He had returned like a knight in shining armor to get the organization back to the glorious heights he had brought them to as player.
For years, the Avalanche was at or near the bottom of the standings in the Northwest division. They won just 16 games the year before Patrick Roy became the team’s head coach in 2013.
Fans were frustrated.
His first night on the job, Roy channeled that frustration right into a glass barrier.
Roy’s energy that night helped guide the Avalanche to surprise division championship for which Roy himself was awarded the Jack Adams for NHL coach of the year.
Now, two bad seasons removed from the night Patrick Roy nearly tore down Pepsi Center with his bare hands, the former goaltending great has stepped down as head coach and executive vice president of hockey operations for the Colorado Avalanche.
“For the past three years, I have carried out my duties as Head Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Colorado Avalanche with energy, passion and determination,” Roy said in a statement. “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.”
In the two seasons since their Northwest division championship, Roy and the Avalanche posted a combined record of 78-70-16, missing the playoffs in both seasons.
His decision to quit with a year left in his contract seems to have been a surprise to nearly everyone in the organization.
“Patrick informed me of his decision today,” general manager Joe Sakic said in a statement released by the team. “We appreciate all he has done for our organization and wish him the best of luck in the future. We will begin the search for a new head coach immediately.”
The timing of Roy’s resignation puts Sakic and the Avalanche in a difficult position. The team reports to training camp in exactly 40 days, and their season begins in just over two months. Finding a new head coach in time for the start of the season is going to be a difficult task.
Names that have been mentioned among potential candidates include Valor Christian High School coach George Gwozdecky, and former Avalanche head coach Bob Hartley.