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Avalanche tab AHL vet Bednar as new coach

 

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The Colorado Avalanche announced Thursday the appointment of Jared Bednar as the franchise’s new head coach.

Bednar, who replaces Patrick Roy, becomes the seventh head coach in Avalanche history and the 15th in franchise history.

“After profiling the type of coach I wanted for our team and going through an interview process with several good candidates, I believe that Jared Bednar is the best person to lead this team behind the bench,” said Avalanche executive vice president-GM Joe Sakic. “Jared’s track record of success as a head coach in the American Hockey League speaks for itself and he is considered to be one of the top up-and-coming coaches in our business.”

“Even though we had to accelerate the process with training camp approaching, we feel we met some real strong candidates with a lot of potential to become head coaches in the NHL in the near future. I would like to thank the general managers who gave us permission to talk to key staff members at such a precarious time.”

Bednar, 44, guided the Columbus Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, to the 2016 Calder Cup as AHL champions this past season (pictured). The Monsters finished second in the Central Division with a 43-22-6-5 record (97 points) and then proceeded to go 15-2 during the postseason, sweeping both the Western Conference Final and Calder Cup Final.

The 2015-16 campaign marked Bednar’s 14th season in professional coaching, his sixth as a head coach and fourth as a head coach in the AHL. He owns a 251-158-42 (.603) record as a head coach, which includes two seasons in the ECHL. Prior to leading the Monsters to their title, Bednar served as the head coach of the Blue Jackets’ previous AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, in 2014-15. He also spent two seasons as the head coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12.

“My family and I are thrilled to be heading to Denver to begin this new challenge,” said Bednar. “I feel ready for this role with the Avalanche and I am grateful for the trust that (Avalanche president) Josh Kroenke, Joe (Sakic) and the organization has shown me. This is a great sports market with a passionate fan base and I can’t wait to get to work. I would also like to thank Columbus Blue Jackets organization for the opportunity they gave me.”

Bednar began his coaching career as an assistant with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL in 2002-03. He took over the Stingrays’ head coaching job in 2007-08 and in his second season led South Carolina to the 2009 Kelly Cup as ECHL champions. He posted a .654 winning percentage (89-45-9) in two years as an ECHL head coach.

The Yorkton, Saskatchewan, native was an assistant coach in the AHL with Abbotsford in 2009-10 and later served two seasons as an assistant with Springfield from 2012-14.

Bednar played nine seasons of professional hockey, a career that spanned parts of six seasons in the ECHL with the Huntington Blizzard and South Carolina Stingrays (1993-2002), parts of three seasons in the AHL with the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Rochester Americans (1996-2000), and one season in the IHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 1998-99. The defenseman was part of two Kelly Cup championship teams as a player, 1997 and 2001 with South Carolina.

Prior to turning pro, Bednar spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League from 1990-93, competing with the Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers and Prince Albert Raiders.

Photo/John Saraya