Just one month before the start of NHL training camps there is a surprise coaching vacancy in the NHL after Patrick Roy resigned as head coach and vice president of hockey operations of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday afternoon.
Roy announced the move with the following statement.
“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.
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 V-P of 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.
Today, I am informing you of my decision to leave the Colorado Avalanche organization. Though it saddens me, I have put much thought about this decision in recent weeks and have come to be fully comfortable with it.
I am grateful to the Colorado Avalanche organization, with which I remain in good terms, for letting me lead this great team. I think 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 released that statement himself, and not through the Avalanche organization.
Roy took over as coach of the Avalanche prior to the 2013-14 season following a successful coaching tenure in the QMJHL and was behind the bench for a surprising 52-win season that saw the team go from being one of the worst in the NHL the year before to one of the best.
But even with that sudden turnaround there were some red flags in the way the team played (they were one of the worst possession teams in hockey) that the success would not last if they were not corrected. The Avalanche never really seemed to address those areas of concern — and at times seemed defiant in their unwillingness to do so — and quickly regressed over the past two seasons, missing the playoffs in both years. Following this past season Roy was critical of the team’s core saying they needed to show more leadership, and that it was unacceptable that the team missed the playoffs.
But that core includes top-line players in Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie. There is quite a bit of potential with this team if they can get the right coach and the right system to maximize it, and the right players around them to complement them.
Now they have to try and find the coach that who can develop a strategy for it one month before the team is set to report to training camp. That will not be easy.
Update: The Avalanche released a statement acknowledging Roy’s departure.
“Patrick informed me of his decision today,” Joe Sakic said. “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,” continued Sakic.
For more on the relationship between Sakic and Roy, check out this post.