The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the organization has hired Ray Bennett as an assistant coach and Jussi Parkkila as goaltending coach. Bennett and Parkkila will join current assistant Nolan Pratt on Jared Bednar's coaching staff.
"Ray brings a tremendous amount of NHL experience and hockey knowledge to our team, and Jussi has a proven track record of working with goaltenders," said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. "They're a great complement to our current coaching staff, and we're excited to have them join our organization."
Bennett, 55, has served as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues for the last 10 seasons. Working under four different head coaches in that span, he handled a variety of different roles, spending time in charge of the power play as a full-time bench coach. He also managed team preparation, offensive play evaluation and in-game analysis as the team's eye in the sky. Prior to his time with the Blues, the Innisfail, Alberta, native spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings (1999-2006), where he specialized in video analysis and statistical support and was involved in all areas of tactical and technical play.
On the international stage, Bennett served as the manager of high performance/video for the Canadian Hockey Association for two years. He was an assistant coach in charge of video for Canada's silver medal-winning entry at the 1999 IIHF World Junior Championship, the gold medal-winning Canadian National Women's Team at the 1999 IIHF World Women's Championship and a fourth-place finish with Canada's Men's National Team at the 1999 IIHF World Championship. Bennett was also an assistant coach with Canada's silver medal-winning women's team at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Bennett has also been the head coach at Red Deer College and held positions with the Spokane Chiefs, the World Junior Hockey Championship Association, Hockey Canada, the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association.
Parkkila, 40, has spent the last 12 seasons coaching goaltenders in Europe, which included a five-year stint in Russia's KHL and two seasons in Finland's top professional league (Liiga). He spent the 2016-17 campaign coaching goalies for the Grazz 99ers in Austria. Prior to that, Parkkila served as goaltending coach in the KHL with Omsk (2014-15), St. Petersburg (2011-14) and Mytischi (2010-11).
After three years with the Ilves U-20 team in Finland, Parkkila began his pro coaching career with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv in 2007-08, where he tutored current Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov. The Tampere, Finland, native then moved on to coach with Tappara in Finland's top league for two seasons (2008-10).