Citing a disconnect with the team’s front office, Patrick Roy stepped down as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
In a statement announcing the decision, Roy alluded to a lack of control—over the team he played for and coached for a combined 731 games—as a major reason for his decision.
“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,” Roy said in the statement. “To achieve this, the vision of the coach and VP-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.”
Roy’s professional coaching career began in 2013 after he won two Stanley Cup trophies with the Avalanche as a player from 1996 to 2003. (He also won two Stanley Cups playing for the Montreal Canadiens before being traded to Colorado.) The fiery ex-goaltender finished with 130 wins, 92 regulation losses, and 24 overtime/shootout losses as Colorado’s coach.
Avs general manager and executive vice president Joe Sakic, Roy’s teammate with the Avalanche, said the search for a new coach will begin immediately.
“We appreciate all he has done for our organization and wish him the best of luck in the future,” Sakic added.
Although Roy led the Avs to a first-place divisional finish in 2014—his first year as coach—Colorado failed to make the playoffs the next two seasons despite fielding a roster of impressive young stars.
The Avalanche’s handling of the NHL Draft might have made an impact on Roy’s decision to leave, according to Denver Post writers Terry Frei and Mike Chambers. In an interview with the Post in April, Roy referenced the Avs’ inability to select influential talent after the first round.
His tenure in Denver wasn’t without controversy. Earlier this season he called out some of his best players for failing to step up as team leaders. “Our core players are having a hard time [carrying] this team,” Roy said in April, when the Avs were well on their way to a sixth place finish in their division. “That’s the bottom line.” Roy also criticized one of his best players, center Matt Duchene, for over-celebrating his 30th goal in a 5–1 loss.
The NHL rumor wire and Twitterverse are already suggesting that Roy could be next in line for a coaching position with a team in his native Canada, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs or Canadiens.
Roy’s full statement can be found here.