The Colorado Avalanche formally introduced Patrick Roy as the team's new head coach and vice president of hockey operations on Tuesday afternoon. Roy has agreed to a four-year contract with an option for a fifth-year, president Josh Kroenke announced.
Newly appointed president of hockey operations -- and former teammate -- Joe Sakic stated that Roy was his top candidate to fill the position. In terms of Roy's appointment to vice president of hockey operations, many speculated that it was a key component to Roy accepting the position. However, Roy denied that he needed the title to accept the role of coach and Sakic stated that he was the one who presented the idea.
According to his account, Roy hosted Kroenke and Sakic at his Florida home a few weeks ago to discuss the dynamics of the opportunity. Roy then agreed to terms over the phone with Sakic last Thursday.
Roy stated that he believes he is ready to take on this challenge. He previously rejected the chance to coach the Avalanche in 2009. While some thought money played a factor in that decision, Roy stated that family was a major component in his absence from the NHL. Now that his three children have grown-up, Roy is ready to fully embrace the chance to return.
An interesting moment came when Roy was discussing the future of the team. He referenced the Pittsburgh Penguins and how Jarome Iginla specifically wanted to join the Penguins to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Roy hopes that one day players will want to join the Avalanche in order to play with guys like Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene or Paul Stastny. Absent from that list was Ryan O'Reilly, whose future has been in question since signing an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames in February. Whether this was an accidental indication of the organization's future plans remains to be seen.
What is known is that Roy will be hiring a goalie coach instead of working with them himself. He stated that he has identified a handful of candidates for the position and will be contacting them to gauge interest. When asked about his opinion of who the team should take with the No. 1 overall selection in June's draft, he remained vague and praised the top-rated prospects in the class, which includes Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones.
To many, the hiring of Roy and Sakic was an attempt to reinvigorate Colorado's fan base. Given Roy's aptitude for public speaking, it seems like the public relations component of that concept was a success. Roy was charming in his ability to command the room and was able to convey a consistent message of hope. Proclaiming that the only thing he asks of his team is to play hard, Roy aspires to establish a promising future for the Avalanche and their fans.
Focus on the fans was something that Roy referenced consistently. While some might find it cliché or even insincere, there's no denying that a focus on the fans is something the Avalanche need. Of course, hockey games aren't decided in press rooms. Roy and Sakic are going to need to be good at their jobs in order for this to work.
However, giving the fans something to be excited about is important, too. Roy did a fantastic job of doing that. Now, he and his former teammate will need to continue to build on that excitement by improving the Western Conference's worst team from last season.