DENVER (The Sports Xchange) – The Colorado Avalanche formally introduced their new head coach, Jared Bednar, on Wednesday, and his first order of business is already complete.
Bednar, who was hired two weeks ago after former coach Patrick Roy unexpectedly resigned Aug. 11, announced that assistant coaches Nolan Pratt, Tim Army and Dave Farrish will be retained.
“I have had a chance to speak to the coaches last week and then in my drive here over the last few days,” Bednar said. “I’ve had some great conversations with them. I feel very comfortable with (the) staff. I like the mix of some guys with a lot of experience in the league and the knowledge they have of our players, as well as Nolan coming in here as a new coach, and myself. I feel very comfortable with this staff.”
The 44-year-old Bednar is coming off a successful second season as coach of the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, guiding the affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Calder Cup championship.
The retainment of the previous assistants should make for an easier transition. Pratt, a former Avalanche defenseman, was Bednar’s assistant with Lake Erie last season before being hired by Colorado while Roy still was head coach, but Army and Farrish should have some insights on the roster that will be beneficial to the new coach.
Bednar, who played professionally in the ECHL and AHL before winning a championship as a head coach in each league, is excited to finally have his opportunity in the big leagues.
“I’m happy to be the coach here, I’m grateful for the opportunity and I want to make these guys who hired me proud,” Bednar said. “That’s the way I look at it. We’ve got a great staff, we can accomplish great things, if we can all come together.
“I have a lot of respect for Patrick Roy. I watched him play as I was growing up. I watched him coach. Now it’s my turn to try to carry on the tradition here or build on the tradition that his organization has.”
Bednar’s job will be to coax the most out of the young core that went 39-39-4 last season and missed the playoffs for the second straight season and for the fifth time in six seasons. The group is anchored by forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog as well as defensemen Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie.
“The key for me is to focus on the process and the way we’re going to play,” Bednar said. “I think we have to set a standard of the way we’re going to play. I think we have to have high expectations and we have to bring everyone together and get them on the same page. That’s been my philosophy from day one in coaching.
“Our standard is the structure we play with, the expectations of our work ethic and our compete level and the attention to detail within that structure and then the pace and the execution.”