Ten years to the day after he announced his retirement from the NHL, Patrick Roy was back at the Pepsi Center being introduced as the new head coach and vice president of hockey operations for the Colorado Avalanche.
Roy — seated beside Avs president Josh Kroenke and former teammate Joe Sakic, now the executive vice president of hockey operations — spoke Tuesday about bringing a “Stanley Cup attitude” back to the organization that’s fallen on hard times since its glory years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Roy acknowledged that a championship may not happen right away, but that doesn’t mean immediate steps towards improvement can’t be taken.
“Results are one thing, but you want to see a group…that’s going to work hard every night,” Roy said, noting that the Avs fans he’s spoken to have told him they want more accountability from the team.
Roy, 47, has spent the last eight seasons as head coach and general manager of the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL. However, he’s not overly concerned about going from coaching teenagers to coaching the world’s best players, as he says he prepared his junior team much the same way he prepared himself during his Hall of Fame career in the NHL.
Addressing the Avs fanbase, Roy promised to “bring the same passion” to his new role as he did as a player.
“I don’t know how long this ride is going to be, but I’m going to enjoy every minute,” he said.
As for ownership’s financial commitment to winning — something that’s been called into question the past few years as the team’s payroll has sat among the lowest in the league — Roy said his goal, while working alongside Sakic, is to help turn the Avs into a club like the Pittsburgh Penguins, which veteran players like Jarome Iginla want to join in order to win a Stanley Cup. Then, ownership can show its commitment.
But there’s lots of work to be done before the Avs get to that point.
“I think my number one quality is I’m not afraid to put in the time,” Roy said. “Am I going to be perfect? No, I’m not going to be perfect.”
Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting.