QUEBEC – The Colorado Avalanche have struck out in their bid to lure Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy back to Denver.
Roy said he phoned Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix late Tuesday night to tell him he wasn’t accepting the team’s offer to become its new head coach due to family reasons.
“All I can say is that the Avalanche’s offer was more than interesting,” he told a news conference Wednesday inside Quebec City’s Colisee.
“I have enormous respect for Pierre Lacroix. This is a man who played a very important role in my life, in my hockey career, so for sure I will always have an attentive ear for (him).”
Roy, the co-owner, general manager and coach of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, plans to stay in the city to support his sons.
His son Frederic plays for the Remparts but is thinking of giving up hockey while an older son Jonathan has already left the sport to pursue a music career.
“My quality of life here in Quebec City is extraordinary,” he said. “I adore this adventure, I adore working with youth. For me it’s a daily challenge – working to help these youths realize their dreams.”
Roy, who would not reveal details of his conversations with Lacroix, said he mulled the offer for two weeks before making the decision.
Both sides had refused for weeks to confirm that Roy had been offered Tony Granato’s coaching job.
Roy met with Lacroix in Denver earlier this month, about three weeks after general manager Francois Giguere was fired following Colorado’s last-place finish in the West. Colorado’s 32-45-5 record was its worst since moving from Quebec to Denver in 1995.
Roy led the Avalanche to Stanley Cup titles in 1999 and 2001.
Avalanche spokesman Jean Martineau said Granato, who has two years left on his contract, is still Colorado’s coach.
Martineau declined to say whether Roy had also been offered the Avs’ vacant general manager job, but said the search continues for “individuals who might be a part of the new management structure.”
Earlier this month, Roy had denied receiving an offer from his old NHL team, and there was a report in Montreal that he also had been offered the Avalanche’s vacant general manager’s job, perhaps as a way to sweeten the offer should the Canadiens also try to hire him.
Roy started his NHL career as a member of the Canadiens and won two Stanley Cups with the club. His No. 33 has been retired by both Habs and the Avalanche.
He said he has only spoken to the Avalanche about an NHL job.
The 43-year-old retired from the Avs in 2003 and took over as coach of the Remparts in 2005, guiding them to a Memorial Cup in his first season.
He is a hands-on coach and administrator who is involved in nearly every decision affecting the team.
Roy said Wednesday that there were 780 Remparts season-ticket holders when he took over the team. Now, he says there are 7,800.
“The role that (the Remparts) play in the community is also very important to me,” he said.
But his return to Quebec City has been marked by controversy.
Last season, he was suspended five games and fined $4,000 after son Jonathan attacked opposing goalie Bobby Nadeau of Chicoutimi during a playoff game.
The incident prompted Quebec’s sports minister to create a committee to address the issue of gratuitous violence in hockey.
The Avalanche, whose 199 goals were the fewest in the NHL last season, have salary cap issues facing their next general manager.
The team has only about US$10 million to $12 million in which to fill out the roster because 14 players have contracts that account for nearly $44 million next year.
That doesn’t include captain Joe Sakic, who spent most of the year on the injured list, and either goaltender, Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft, who are unsigned for next season.
Roy said Wednesday that he expects Colorado to make the right decision.
“I’m convinced that the Avalanche will find somebody who is extremely competent, who will eventually bring the team to where it belongs, the summit of the National (Hockey) League,” he said.
– With files from The Associated Press