The Colorado Avalanche on Thursday agreed in principle to name Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy the club's new head coach and vice president of hockey operations.
"This is a very exciting day for our fans and a significant moment in our organization's history," said Avalanche team president Josh Kroenke. "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."
The 47-year-old Roy starred for the Avalanche from 1995 through 2003 and backstopped the team to a pair of Stanley Cup titles. He also won the Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1986 and 1993.
"This is an unbelievable day for me," said Roy. "It's a new and exciting challenge that I am really looking forward to. I would like to thank Stan and Josh Kroenke for this opportunity as well as Joe Sakic for the trust they are putting in me. Almost 10 years to the day that I announced my retirement as a player I am back in Denver and hope the fans are as excited as I am."
After retiring following a disappointing first-round exit in the spring of 2003, Roy took a break from the game before becoming the GM, coach and co- owner of his hometown Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2005, leading the franchise to a Memorial Cup title in his first season at the helm.
Roy made his NHL debut during the 1984-85 season, then led Montreal to the Stanley Cup as a rookie the following year. He remained with the Canadiens until demanding a trade following an ugly spat with head coach Mario Tremblay.
The Avalanche acquired Roy and forward Mike Keane in exchange for Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky and Jocelyn Thibault in a blockbuster deal in December of 1995, then went on to win their first Stanley Cup in June of '96. Colorado added a second title in 2001, when he was also named the Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP for a third time. His first two Conn Smythe wins came with the Canadiens.
Roy finished his brilliant career with a record of 551-315-160 with 66 shutouts and a 2.54 goals-against average. He was a three-time Vezina Trophy winner -- all with Montreal -- and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
Sakic, a 2012 Hall inductee and the captain of the Avalanche championship teams, is the current Colorado executive vice president of hockey operations.
"All along, Patrick was our top candidate and we are thrilled that he has decided to accept this offer," said Sakic. "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 Avalanche needed a new coach after Joe Sacco was fired at the conclusion of the shortened 2013 campaign. Colorado finished with a 16-25-7 record, missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season. Only the Florida Panthers (36) had fewer points the Colorado's 39.