Avalanche President and Governor Josh Kroenke opening statement
Good afternoon everyone and welcome. It is a very exciting day for our fans, and a significant moment in our organization’s history. Patrick’s decision to come back to the Avalanche is certainly something that we were all thrilled about, but especially myself and my family. When Joe and I recently went to Florida to meet with Patrick, I instantly felt his passion for the game and his desire to be involved in our franchise and all aspects of our operations. We needed just one meeting to know that Patrick was the guy, and we signed him to a four-year contract with an option for a fifth. I can’t tell you how impressed I am that both Patrick and Joe [Sakic] wanted to return and lead this franchise moving forward. And now I’ll turn it over to Joe to say a few words.
Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic opening statement
Thanks Josh. When I took this job, and I knew I had to find a coach; Patrick was always my top candidate and I am excited that he accepted our offer. Patrick has a great hockey mind, he is a tremendous coach and there is no one more passionate about this game. He’ll bring a winning attitude to this dressing room and help this young team grow, and I know he’ll get the best out of each player. As Josh mentioned, we went to meet Patrick in order to gauge his level of interest. We both felt that not only did he want to coach but also be involved in player personnel decisions, which we were excited to hear. I’ve known Patrick for a long time and we were fortunate to be a part of some great teams and I know he will lead this team in the right direction. Now I’m pleased to introduce our new Head Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations, Patrick Roy.
Head Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations Patrick Roy opening statement
Good afternoon everyone. Ten years ago to the day I was here at the Pepsi Center in this very same room announcing my retirement as an NHL player. Shortly thereafter, I realized that the passion I had for the game never left me. I wanted to stay involved in hockey and I found a way to do so. Here I am today, back in Denver, ready to embark on a new challenge that I’m really looking forward to. I would like to thank Stan and Josh Kroenke for this opportunity as well as Joe Sakic for their trust in me. When I met Josh and Joe in Florida a couple of weeks ago, they both demonstrated to me their commitment to the team and I was very excited about it. Now more than ever it is the time to realize another dream, and to become a coach at an NHL level. I am also excited to be involved in player personnel decisions. It will be our goal to work together to compete for a Stanley Cup. To all Avalanche fans: rest assured, I will bring the same passion to my new role with the team that I did when I was a player.
On the current team
ROY: Well, it’s a great challenge for everyone. First of all I am going to get to know the players. I haven’t followed the Avalanche as much over the last couple of years, but I know there is a lot of talent on this team and I think it would be fun for myself to work with them, and my objective is really to give the team back to our fans, and I certainly want to see our players very, very close to our fans. When fans come to the rink they are going to say ‘that’s my team.’ That’s the value that I’m really going to try to look at as much as possible with the players. Regarding the team and everything, I think we will have a lot of good discussion over the summer with what needs to be changed and what we are going to look at, but I know that we have a lot of talent on this team; and I certainly look forward to it.
On how long it took to take job after it was offered
ROY: I met with Joe a couple weeks ago, and Josh in Florida, and I was very impressed with our how conversation went. I had a lot of great people working with me in Quebec that I’m very close to, and I had to think about everything. Then last Thursday I would say I spoke to Joe again and we agreed on the terms and I was ready to pursue that dream and that opportunity as well.
On timing and taking the job now
ROY: Very good question. You know, it was important for me to give back to my family, and when I say family, I mean my three children. Until two years ago Frederick was playing for us in Quebec and it was important for me to be there for them. They’ve been there for me all my career and I thought it was important for me to be there for them as well. Until Fred was playing with our junior team it was important for me to stay close to them. Now Fred is playing in Rochester with the Americans in the American Hockey League, Jonathan is has a career going on in music and my daughter, Jana, is studying and there is no one at home anymore. It came to a time where it was a challenge that I wanted to give a try, give a shot at. Plus, the Avalanche means a lot to me and if there’s an organization I wanted to work with, it's this one. I have it at heart. The eight years that I was in Denver had been fantastic ones. Our fans are extremely important to me. The people in Denver from the first day I arrived here in ’96, they were simply fantastic, unbelievable to me and I feel to be a part of that again is something that I expect to enjoy a lot.
On looking back and imagining taking on this new role
ROY: Ten years ago if you had told me I was going to coach I would have said ‘you’re crazy.’ It would be far easier to stay at home. Like I said in my statement, the passion after two years there, I was missing the game. Seriously, it’s a great thing and working with Joe and everyday coming to this rink and talking with Joe and to be part of the decisions and direction of this team is going to go, I couldn’t have asked for any better. I don’t know how long this ride is going to be, but I can tell you my plan is to enjoy every minute and I want to enjoy it with all our fans. I know I’ve been coming back a lot to the fans, but the fans are important to me. I want them to come to the rink and enjoy our team, and see players playing with passion and heart, and see players be devoted to them. We are always going to remember that every time we step on the ice. That’s my objective and that’s the way I’m going to try to conduct myself, to try and perform as hard as I was as a player as [I am] a coach.
On the importance of the Vice President of Hockey Operations title
ROY: In my discussion with Josh and Joe in Florida, I said in the junior level I am involved in different ways. I am also the GM of the team and I offered them; I said, ‘If you guys want me to do more, I would be more than happy to do more.’ They came back to me, Joe called me back, and said, 'You know what, Patty, we are comfortable with you being involved in hockey decisions.' Joe and I get along really well and I think it’s a perfect situation for both of us.
On Roy’s intensity and fiery personality and how that translates to the NHL
ROY: I understand that there will be some adjustments to make, you know, junior is junior and the NHL is the NHL, but at the end of the day you prepare yourself pretty much the same, and then the game is just a bit faster then it is in junior compared to the NHL. All my years in junior, I’ve been using my NHL experience, and the NHL experience I’ve been using is the one that I had with Montreal and Colorado, and the different types of coaches that I have had have been a model for myself, and the ones I have been using. I hope that my passion will help our players to do the same. I think we have great leadership and Gabriel (Landeskog) is a great captain for this team, and I’m sure that I can help him and I’m sure he’s going to help me as well. I think that we have to be a family; we have to work together and come to the rink together, and try to bring this team to the next level. I mean the past is the past, it’s over. It’s about what we will do next with our group and I’m extremely proud that Joe and Josh gave me the opportunity to be part of that new era, and that’s the way I’m looking at it. I think Joe and I had the opportunity to be part of something really special in the past, and I think we’re going to also be part of something very special in the future, and these guys are going to be the reason why our fans are going to be excited and our fans are going to have fun coming to this rink.
On his coaching style
ROY: Well, it’s not the style; I mean it’s very simple. It might sound cliché, but you want players that work hard. When your players are working hard; results are one thing, but you want to see a group that – it’s funny, yesterday my flight was delayed for about two and a half hours in Fort Lauderdale and when I got into Denver, about 20-25 people that I spoke with at the airports, the only thing they mentioned to me was asking for our players to be accountable and to work hard every night – and that’s the thing. The day that they are going to understand that, I think they are going to have fun playing the game, and we’re going to go somewhere with that, there’s no doubt in my mind. To be honest with you, what I’m looking for is a group that’s going to work hard every night, a group that’s going to have, we might not win the Stanley Cup next year, but one thing that I know, we are going to have a Stanley Cup attitude, and I think that’s going to carry us a long way. I mean the day we’re going to be ready for it, our young guys are going to come to terms, I’m sure that because we’re going to build step-by-step, that will make us get an edge. Just looking at different teams who have won a Stanley Cup, eventually they have to go through that process. Reading comments from different players and the respect that you bring to this game and to fans, I think in the end, they are the reason why you are capable of going through adversity and able to win.
On assurances that were made
ROY: What I like about my meeting with Josh and Joe is Josh wants to work as a team. I mean I know that they are going to have the final say on decisions, but Josh wants to win. He’s a winner, he’s passionate about winning and it’s amazing what the Kroenkes are doing in this city. I mean they could be anywhere else other than Colorado but they are involved with the Avalanche, they’re involved with the Nuggets and a number of other sports in Denver. As an ex-player and a new coach, I certainly appreciate what they’re doing, and it’s not going to just be up to Josh to judge in the end and say ‘Oh, we’re going spend money.’ We might be slowing down at times and say, 'Hey, we don’t need this player,' and it’s a team concept and I believe that yes, they’re going to have the final say, but it’s going to be our job – Joe and I – to show Josh that we’re going somewhere with our team and at the end with our leaders we’re going to be able to say, 'Hey, we just need Ray Bourque or that guy to win the Stanley Cup.' My dream is to see a guy like (Jarome) Iginla at the end of his career say, 'I want to play in Pittsburgh, because Crosby and Malkin are there. I want to play in Pittsburgh because they have a chance to win a Stanley Cup.' That’s what I want to see one day, have guys say, 'I want to be with Landeskog or [Matt] Duchene or [Paul] Stastny because I know that I have a chance to win a Stanley Cup with these guys.'
On whether Joe Sakic ever envisioned Roy as coach when he was a player
SAKIC: Actually, even back then you knew he was – he says he didn't think that he would be a coach – but we knew as players that at some point he would be a coach. He was always a student of the game. Always watching tapes and videos, whether we won or lost. If we won, who could have prevented this or how we could have done this better. So he was always learning from that. Obviously near the end of his career and on the off years he was watching the Remparts play, and watching those tapes and probably doing the same thing. And so for me when I had this opportunity, I knew Patrick was the guy I wanted to contact just to see if he wanted to be a part of this. I was really excited when he said he had a lot of interest, and you can hear it here, he’s got that passion, his knowledge of the game is second to none. I know what he can do, what he did in our dressing room as a player and what he can do in the dressing room as a coach, and he’s just that perfect guy, the perfect guy for this organization.
On if Vice President of Hockey Operations title was offered or a stipulation
ROY: Would I have come here if I was just the head coach? The answer is yes. I honestly am not here because I am the VP of Hockey, but I am happy that Joe gave me that opportunity, because I believe in all the last eight years in Quebec I did both jobs, and to be honest with you I was very comfortable. But it was also important to me because Joe is now my boss, and I wanted to make sure that at the same time that he was comfortable in what I felt that I could bring to the team, and that shows what type of person Joe Sakic is. He’s very unselfish. He was very unselfish as a player, he is very unselfish. He’s like me. We want to see this franchise winning another Stanley Cup. That’s all he cares about. It’s not about ego; it’s about seeing this team winning.
On NHL Draft prospect Nathan McKinnon
ROY: On McKinnon, I can tell you he’s a heck of a player, and (Seth) Jones is a heck of a player. And it’s the same thing with (Jonathan) Drouin. They’re all premier players in the future for the NHL. No matter what the decision our organization is, are we going to keep first overall or are we going to move first overall, or whatever we’re going to do, we know that the teams picking first, second or third, are going to get three outstanding players.
On whether there will be a goalie coach
ROY: Yes we are going to have a goalie coach. I have someone in mind. I’ll present to Joe and Josh the people I would like to work with, and then I’ll contact them and see if they’ll accept our offer or not, but we are going to have a goalie coach there’s no doubt about it. [Semyon] Varlamov and [Jean-Sebastien] Giguere are two very good goalies. Jiggy can certainly be very helpful to Varlamov, and I’m sure he’s already done that. I haven’t talked to Jiggy since I took the job, but I’m sure he’s like a big brother to him and that’s going to help him to become an even better goalie.
On dealing with his assistant coaches and his goalie coach in Quebec
ROY: I’ve never had problems, and you know why? It’s very simple. I leave to the goalie coach all of the talk, we go into a private room and we are going to talk about our views and the way we see that. I mean yes, I am going to have conversations with Jiggy and we're going to talk about the game itself, but no I never have problems. I am always trying to not make the mistake to be too tough on them, and I don’t try to compare whoever to me, that is probably the worst mistake anyone could do.
On Roy’s first order of business and if he’ll contact the current players
ROY: As soon as possible yes, I’m certainly going to make some phone calls. And I'm happy to see some of the guys here today: Paul, Gabriel and Jiggy. But yes, I’m going to make some phone calls. It’s just that so many players are out of town; the first contact may be by phone. But I look forward to meeting them sometime in early September or August for the ones that are going to be in town. But you know me, I am always going to be close to the phones and ready to work, and it doesn’t matter if I’m in Denver or not, I’m going to keep my eyes open and whatever I can do to help this team.
On whether the slide of the franchise has affected Roy
ROY: I’m sure deep inside it probably played a role. First of all, if the team had been successful there probably would have never been a coach change – a lot of the change in management as well. I think it’s the perfect time. In 2009 also, I would say that maybe I was not quite ready for it yet. Like I said before because of my family situation, but I think I have learned even more in the past few years as a coach and as a GM. I have evolved a lot in that period of time, and I truly feel that sometimes the biggest mistake you can make as a coach is you want to go too fast. Certainly I have no regrets for taking my time. I was afraid in 2009 that maybe I missed one of the best opportunities of my life, but today here I am in 2013 and the same opportunity is there and I have the opportunity to work with great people. I am not saying they weren’t great people then, but right now it’s a really good situation, it’s a nice challenge, and I’m just glad to be part of it.
On great players not making great coaches
ROY: You know what, I’m not nervous about that. I was surprised that no one asked me a question about experience and stuff like that, and to be honest with you, I checked one very interesting stat: 100 percent of the coaches who are coaching now in the NHL were rookies at one time in their career. Also, I think my number one quality is that I’m not afraid to put in the time, and I believe that when you work hard and put in the time that nothing will go wrong. Am I going to be perfect? No, I’m not going to be perfect, but I can tell you one thing like I said: like I was as a player, I’m going to be the same as a coach and put in everything I can to make and to help this organization to get back on top.
Avalanche Player Quotes
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere
On what his first thoughts were when he heard Roy was coach
I was extremely excited about it. I think it’s a good thing for this organization. Having a combo of Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy being in charge of our team, two guys that have won a lot of things. They’ve won everywhere they’ve been and they have that winning attitude and mentality with them, that can only be good. Especially for a young team like we are, these guys are going to learn from the best. These guys (Sakic and Roy) have a lot of character and a lot of drive and this can only be passed along to the players. That's a great thing.
On what his expectations are for next season with Roy as coach
I expect the guys to act professional, expect to win every night, even though that’s not going to happen, that’s impossible, but I expect our attitude to be that we’re here to win, we’re here to play hockey whether it’s a practice, or a game day or even a day off. We’re going to act professionally and make sure that we’re here to win and work hard and do our things. Like I said, it’s impossible to win every night, but at the very least it’s not impossible to work hard every night, and I think we’re going to have a bit of a change that way.
On what it’s like to be on the same team as your hockey idol growing up
It’s pretty cool. I think it’s great. I am excited to get to know him more. But at the same time he remains my coach and I am a player and we need to let the relationship form so that come September, you can’t think of him as Patrick Roy the Hall of Fame goaltender. You have to think of him as your coach, and just like any other coach you have to try to learn to know him, try to respect what he’s saying and try to do his system and what he’s going to bring to the team. Having a young team, I think he’s a great coach because he’s going to teach the young guys what it’s like to be a winner, which is a good thing.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog
On Patrick Roy’s coaching style
He talked about it briefly today and two things that pop out are his work ethic and commitment to the team. Those are two extremely important things when it comes to this team, and I think we’re extremely excited to have him. He showed today how passionate he is about the fans in Denver and the Avs logo. We are extremely excited to have him and to accomplish great things with him. We are excited for that.
On what it’s like to work with players (Roy and Sakic) that he heard about growing up
Well obviously, the 2001 Cup, I had that picture up on my wall. I know I’ve said it before, but it was up on my wall for a long time when I was a kid. He was always in there and so was Joe, and now that those two are kind of controlling this team from a management standpoint. Like they talked about, they’re looking to accomplish great things just like they did as players. To hear them talk about how excited they are about this, it’s exciting for us as players and it’s exactly what we needed to hear. That determination is exactly what we are looking for.
On what he is most looking forward to with Roy as head coach
It’s a little different having a Hall of Fame coach behind the bench and it’s definitely going to be something new, but I think that when he speaks guys are going to listen. He kind of walks into a room and everyone just kind of rises up, and we’re excited for it. I don’t know much about him, I haven’t talked too much about him as a person, but I’m looking forward to working with him more closely.
Center Paul Stastny
On excitement for next season
Every summer I think everyone gets excited for next year, but I think that with the moves that management has made, bringing in Sakic, bringing in Patty Roy to be more involved in hockey decisions, to me, that’s a big move. That’s really important because you have two hall of fame guys that know the game, the ins-and-outs on the ice, away from the ice, in the locker room, travel-wise and rest-wise. Those guys will make important decisions, and those are two guys that you trust their decisions because of what they’ve done in the past, and obviously, the degree of everything they’ve done from their hockey careers to afterwards.
On what he knows about Patrick being a head coach and what he thinks he will bring to the team next season
I think the most important thing, like he said, is to have that Stanley Cup winning attitude. Attitude goes a long way, and obviously he wants this team to work hard and that’s what every coach says, but a good coach can relate to different guys and get the best out of every player, and that’s different. You can’t treat everyone the same way. Some guys you can yell at in front of the room and some guys you have to talk to them one-on-one to get the best out of them. I think he knows that, and I think that’s something that’s really important. His attitude and his passion for winning, it’s going to rub off on players and we’ll realize how important it is for him, and how important it should be for us.
On what he remembers about Roy when he played
To be honest, as a young player growing up I didn’t watch goalies, I watched forwards because I was a forward and those were my idols. But you always remember the Colorado/Detroit rivalry and obviously, the line brawls. And obviously his quote on Jeremy Roenick there in the playoffs, which I think is probably his most famous line. He shows his passion. Everyone’s passionate, and some guys are more passionate away from the camera, but he didn’t care. He’s always passionate on the ice and I think that just rubbed off on a lot of guys, and that shows how important it is for him to win.