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Patrick Roy talks decision to leave Avalanche

Says it was 'hard to go that way' because of connection to players

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

QUEBEC CITY -- The biggest cheers before the game between Team Europe and Team North America did not happen when their players were introduced, though many got nice receptions from the crowd at Videotron Centre. No, the longest and loudest standing ovation came when Patrick Roy was announced before he dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff.

The native son and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame was in town for the pretournament game for the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

There finally were a few answers from the former Colorado Avalanche coach and vice president of hockey operations, who unexpectedly resigned Aug. 11 with one year remaining on his contract. He released a statement soon after but had not fully addressed the reasoning behind the move in the month since it happened.

"I like to use the word 'resign,'" Roy said when asked about the split. "Obviously, we had different philosophy and sometimes it's better that way. The day I called [executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic], I mean we talked for about 10-15 minutes about everything, and I mentioned to him that I was [not] going to come back next year. And he offered me to think about it, but I said my decision was made. I had plenty of time to think about it.

"It was a process that I took my time because I was close to my players and I really enjoyed them. It's a special group for me and it was hard to go that way. I always said the coaching part of my life was, I had to enjoy myself and I didn't have much fun, then I decided it was time for me to move on."

Asked about those philosophical differences, Roy said, "It was more like the type of players and stuff like this that [we] didn't necessarily agree on, and it goes upon that. It was people working for the team and stuff like this that we were a little different, but no more than that."

For Roy, analytics are something that didn't quite work for him, though he acknowledged that there are some he likes and some he, well, doesn't agree with. He added, "I think it is pretty much for a lot of coaches."

There also was the question of why Roy made his decision when he did, late in the offseason, with many of the coaching candidates off the market. He left the Avalanche with little more than a month to find a new coach. He did not back down from his decision, or from when he made in his comments on Thursday.

"I needed really to make sure that it was a proper decision," Roy said. "It was very important for me to have no regret and it was not an easy one by the same time. It was hard to leave this organization and this group of players. I wanted to make sure and I thought that a month or so, over a bit, a month gives plenty of time. You could fire a coach and have a replacement in two days. A month or so is plenty of time for anybody to come in and step in and prepare the team and make sure they're ready."

The decision leaves Roy under contract with the Avalanche for another season. Roy did not rule out coaching in that time, but any team would have to contact Colorado about hiring him. Mostly, though, he made it clear that his priority was to take some time off and enjoy it, perhaps to travel.

It would, he said, be a very different winter for him.

Video: E.J. Hradek looks at Patrick Roy's decision to resign

And although Roy said he was not worried about his relationship with the Avalanche, who he helped to its first Stanley Cup, in 1996, as its No. 1 goalie, saying that he thought "it finished well," there is perhaps another team, or another city, that needs him more.

Quebec City took part in the recent NHL expansion process but was not awarded a team in June. Las Vegas was the only location chosen to begin play in the 2017-18 NHL season.

Roy said he would help Quebec City's continuing efforts if asked.

"I'd rather focus right now on what I'm going to do in the summer," Roy said. "But whatever happens here in Quebec, they need my support and my help, I'll be more than happy to be there for them. Absolutely."

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