On Thursday afternoon, he struck a deal with Colorado management to return to the franchise as both the head coach of the team and the Vice President of Hockey Operations. The team's Twitter account had the news of the hiring, while the Denver Post's Adrian Dater reported on Tuesday, May 28th that the legend got a four-year deal, with an option for a fifth:
COACH ROY: The #Avalanche has reached an agreement in principle w/ Patrick Roy to become the franchise's Head Coach/VP of Hockey Operations.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 23, 2013
Patrick Roy has 4-year contract with option year for fifth— adater (@adater) May 28, 2013
NHL.com's Dan Rosen also confirmed that the Avs and Roy had agreed in principle to the move:
Colorado Avalanche announce they have reached an agreement in principle with Patrick Roy to be their new coach and VP of Hockey Operations.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 23, 2013
Roy completed a 19-year NHL career with the Avs following the 2002-03 season. He led the NHL in save percentage four times, made the All-Star team 11 times, was a three-time winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy and also had four Stanley Cup triumphs—two with the Montreal Canadiens and two with Colorado.
Roy told reporters on Tuesday, May 28, that he was happy to be back in Denver, per the team's Twitter feed:
Patrick Roy: "Here I am today, back in Denver, ready to embark on a new challenge that I am really looking forward to."— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 28, 2013
Roy: "Now more than ever is the time to realize another dream and become a coach at the NHL level."— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 28, 2013
Both the Canadiens and the Avalanche have retired Roy's No. 33 jersey.
Colorado's Instagram account also posted a pic of Roy and what he might look like on the bench with the Avs next season:
The deal to sign Roy comes over three weeks after the Avalanche fired former head coach Joe Sacco after finishing with just 39 points and missing the 2013 NHL playoffs. He takes over a team desperate for a fresh start, as it has missed the playoffs in five of the last seven seasons.
During an interview as Roy was announced as the team's new head coach, he expressed excitement in earning the job and optimism for helping Colorado get back to the success it had when he was in the net, according to Brian Stubits of CBS Sports:
This is an unbelievable day for me...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.
Roy comes on board after coaching the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL. He was also the general manager of that team, and he'll continue to help the front office and former teammate Joe Sakic—the new President of Hockey Operations—on player personnel decisions.
As Dave Krieger posted on Twitter, Sakic is also happy to have Roy back on board with the franchise in two significant capacities. According to this tweet, he was always the top candidate during the search for a new head coach:
#Avs exec vp Joe Sakic: “All along Patrick was our top candidate and we are thrilled that he has decided to accept this offer."— Dave Krieger (@DaveKrieger) May 23, 2013
Team president Josh Kroenke also noted how important this day could turn out to be after Roy's tenure is all said and done (via Krieger):
#Avs prez Josh Kroenke: “This is a very exciting day for our fans and a significant moment in our organization’s history.”— Dave Krieger (@DaveKrieger) May 23, 2013
Only the Florida Panthers finished with fewer points (36) than Colorado did during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. A front office and coaching staff turnover was imminent at the conclusion of the regular season, and the next domino has dropped in the form of a new head coach.
It just so happens to be man who is beloved both by the franchise he once played for and the city to which he brought two championships.