DENVER – Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic formed a productive partnership on the ice during their playing days, leading the Colorado Avalanche to two Stanley Cup titles.
Now, Avalanche fans are hoping they’re reunited again to steer the foundering franchise back to the glory days. According to reports, the Hall of Fame goaltender could possibly be in line to become the next coach.
Roy’s younger brother, Stephane Roy, posted a Facebook note late Monday night saying his brother would be the new coach. Stephane Roy later told The Denver Post: “They’re discussing the final details of an arrangement.”
The organization remains silent on the report, saying in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Avs, “won’t comment on any speculation on this issue.”
Fans in the Mile High City are enthralled by the thought of two of the most beloved players in team history joining forces again to lead team.
The Avalanche fired Joe Sacco on April 28 after a season in which the squad finished last in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs for a third straight season.
Soon after, the team shook up the front office, with Josh Kroenke taking over the reigns as team president from Pierre Lacroix, the architect behind the Cup-winning teams in 1996 and 2001.
Kroenke’s first order of business was promoting Sakic from a largely ceremonial role with the franchise to executive vice-president of hockey operations, giving the Hall of Famer a say in just about everything, including the new coach.
Sakic may just turn to a familiar face in Roy, who retired in 2003 as the all-time winningest goalie with 551 victories, a mark that has since been surpassed by Martin Brodeur of New Jersey.
Roy began his career with Montreal, winning two Stanley Cup trophies for the Canadiens. But things began to sour in a game against Detroit on Dec. 2, 1995, when Roy allowed nine goals before he was finally taken out in the second period. Roy was so irate he told Montreal it was his last game for the team.
Four days later, he was dealt to Colorado. A few months later, Roy helped the Avs capture their first Stanley Cup.
He spent parts of eight seasons with Colorado and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
His familiar No. 33 sweater was retired by the Avs a decade ago and a banner to commemorate the achievement now hangs from the Pepsi Center rafters, alongside those of Sakic (19), Peter Forsberg (21) and Ray Bourque (77).
Sakic recently said he wants his new leader to offer a teaching component, especially since the Avs have a young nucleus in place with Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and captain Gabriel Landeskog all under 23. They also have the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft.
“You want to have some patience, because your best players are young,” Sakic said.
A fierce competitor on the ice, Roy could bring that same type of demeanour to the bench, even if he doesn’t have NHL coaching experience.
Since his retirement, Roy has been keeping busy by helping out the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He’s served as the team’s co-owner, general manager and coach.