(Reuters) - Hall of Fame goalie and four-times Stanley Cup champion Patrick Roy has been named head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, the National Hockey League (NHL) team said on Thursday.
Roy, who won two Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and two with Colorado before retiring in 2003 after a 19-year career, reached an agreement in principal to become the sixth head coach in Avalanche history.
“This is an unbelievable day for me,” Roy, 47, said in a statement released by the Avalanche. “It’s a new and exciting challenge that I am really looking forward to.
The Canadian takes over a struggling Colorado team that has not made the playoffs since 2010 and finished the 2012-13 NHL season in last place in the Western Conference with the second-worst record in the league.
Roy will also serve as the club’s vice president of hockey operations and will re-unite with former Avalanche teammate Joe Sakic, who is Colorado’s executive vice president of hockey operations.
“All along Patrick was our top candidate and we are thrilled that he has decided to accept this offer,” said Sakic.
“Patrick has a great hockey mind, is a tremendous coach and there is no one more passionate about this game. He will bring that winning attitude to our dressing room to help this young team grow.”
Roy, the only player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy three times as most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs, has spent the last eight seasons as head coach and general manager of the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
He guided the Remparts to a 348-196-0 record and also to the 2006 Memorial Cup title as the Canadian Hockey League champions.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006, Roy retired with the most regular season wins ever in the league (551), a number that now ranks second of all-time. His 151 postseason wins have never been eclipsed by a goaltender.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue