Patrick Roy will be behind the bench next season, but not with the Québec Remparts.
The Hall of Fame goaltender is returning to the National Hockey League as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, the team he helped lead to two Stanley Cup victories after being traded by the Canadiens.
The Avalanche announced late Thursday afternoon that it had reached an agreement in principle with Roy, who was also named the team’s vice-president of hockey operations.
“This is an unbelievable day for me,” Roy said in the team’s statement announcing his appointment.
“It’s a new and exciting challenge that I am really looking forward to. I would like to thank (owner) Stan and Josh (team governor) 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.”
The team said Roy will also work with Sakic, his former teammate who is now the Avalanche’s executive vice-president of hockey operations, on player personnel decisions.
“All along Patrick was our top candidate and we are thrilled that he has decided to accept this offer,” Sakic said in the statement.
“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 plans to hold a news conference with Roy next week in Denver.
Roy is part owner of the Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and has served as the team’s coach and general manager. The Remparts won the Memorial Cup in 2006 during Roy’s tenure as coach.
At this year’s MasterCard Memorial Cup underway in Saskatoon, Canadiens prospect Dalton Thrower has been suspended for the remainder of the tournament. Thrower, a defenceman with the Saskatoon Blades, was suspended for a check to the head on Taylor Leier, a forward with the Portland Winterhawks, when the two teams faced off Wednesday night.
(Gazette file photo)