Patrick Roy Seeking NHL Return as a Coach or Executive

Considered one of the greatest goaltenders of all time, legendary netminder Patrick Roy is seeking a return to the NHL in either a coaching role or as an executive (e.g. a managerial role). In 2017, he was named to the NHL’s Centennial 100 Greatest Players List, which was compiled during the league’s 100th season. Overall, he is one of the most accomplished goalies of all time.

Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens
Patrick Roy hoists the Stanley Cup, Montreal, Canada, June 9, 1993. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Hailing from Quebec City, Canada, Roy has retained the services of PBI Sports & Entertainment. PBI helps figures from the sports world in a variety of areas, including creating personal brands, becoming a coach, negotiating contracts, and seeking executive roles. They have represented people in a variety of leagues, including the NHL, NBA, NFL, NCAA, IIHF, and more. On April 26, 2021, PBI’s founder Neil Glasberg announced via Twitter that they would be representing Roy.

However, despite speculation from legions of Montreal Canadiens fans about a Roy return, Glasberg confirmed that he had yet to talk to any NHL team about Roy’s future, as he said in an interview conducted via the phone on Monday:

“It truly was an innocent announcement, but because of the insecurity within the Canadiens franchise and where things are at, everybody is so insecure they all start freakazoiding and start putting things together.. ‘He’s coming to Montreal … he’s going to be the GM … he’s going to be the coach.’ Truth be told, I haven’t spoken to one NHL team. He and I just agreed to work together on the weekend. If I had anything that was a deal in the works we wouldn’t be talking right now”.

(Per ‘Stu Cowan: Maybe Patrick Roy could light a fire under the Canadiens’, The Edmonton Journal, 4/26/21).

The 55-year-old Roy is no stranger to being a coach or an executive, as he has plenty of experience in both fields.

Roy’s Coaching Experience in Quebec

Roy already has a treasure trove of coaching experience. He retired from being an active hockey player in 2003 following a first-round playoff exit with the Colorado Avalanche to the Minnesota Wild (Per ‘Patrick Roy retires after 18 years’, CBC, 5/28/03). Just two years afterward, he began coaching his hometown Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

The Quebec Remparts have been around since 1997-98.

Roy immediately made an impact as Quebec’s coach, guiding them to a regular-season record of 51-12-0-2 and an appearance in the QMJHL President Cup Final during his first season with the team (2005-06). Despite not winning the President’s Cup, his Remparts did win the biggest prize in Canadian junior hockey, the Memorial Cup. Although he’s yet to reach this level of success with the team again, he subsequently coached them for another eight seasons (his first stint with the franchise lasted from 2005-06 through 2012-13 and he returned for a lone season in 2018-19) where the team never missed the playoffs and posted a win percentage of .564 or higher percentage in all but his latest season with the franchise.

Overall, Roy’s QMJHL coaching record of 376-187-0-50 is impressive. With the team, he helped the development of junior players such as Alexander Radulov, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Jonathan Marchessault, Louis Domingue, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Anthony Duclair. Vlasic, whose No. 44 is retired by the Remparts, credited Roy with helping him become a great stay-at-home defencemen, who has represented Canada in the Olympics because of his defensive play.

“Being a goalie in the NHL, he knows how a defenseman plays — 3-on-2s, 2-on-1s, where to position yourself… My defensive game, because of that, he helped a lot.”

(Per ‘Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic knows Avalanche coach Patrick Roy well’, The Mercury News, 12/22/13).

Roy Explodes onto the NHL Coaching Scene and Nabs a Jack Adams Award

Roy has three years of NHL coaching experience under his belt. In 2013 he was hired by the Avalanche, who had missed the playoffs the previous season. He immediately was a spark for the team, as they posted a record of 52-22-8 in his first season with the team and made the playoffs. As a result, he won the Jack Adams Award as the coach of the year. The rails quickly fell off for the next two seasons, where Colorado twice missed the playoffs. Subsequently, Roy resigned as coach due to differing philosophies about the team’s direction with Avs general manager Joe Sakic.

Joe Sakic Patrick Roy Colorado Avalanche
Sakic and Roy pose with the Stanley Cup. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Roy is known for being a controversial coach, gaining the reputation of being explosive at times. In his first game as an NHL coach, he got into a shouting match with former Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau and former Ducks player Corey Perry, which resulted in Roy shoving the stanchion glass separating the benches and breaking it. He was fined $10,000 for this incident, and coaches such as Boudreau and Ken Hitchcock (who is fourth in all-time coaching wins) lambasted Roy’s actions. In the prior QMJHL season with the Remparts, he accumulated $12,000 in fines.

One game, Colorado was down 4-0 and Matt Duchene scored his 30th goal of the season with mere minutes left in the game. Roy ripped on his player’s celebration of the milestone, which polarized the hockey community. On one hand, more old-school fans thought it was goofy of Duchene to celebrate when the Avalanche were down 4-1, while newer fans claimed Roy was classless.

Another often-debated Roy technique was his pulling of the goalie with tons of time left in the game, such as in this clip where he pulled the goalie with over 10 minutes left in the game. On one side of the coin, he only did this when the Avs were trailing by multiple goals – on the other side, it often resulted in the game’s score becoming even uglier for Colorado. This was another polarizing thing he did as a coach.

Management Experience

Furthermore, Roy has managerial experience. He served as the Avalanche’s Vice President of Hockey Operations in addition to coaching the team for three seasons. His return to coach the Remparts in 2018 saw him being named the team’s general manager, in addition to his coaching role. He lasted one season (2018-19) in both positions, and since then has solely served as the franchise’s general manager.

In Conclusion

One of the main reasons Roy resigned as the Colorado coach is because of the lack of input he had into the team’s roster-building. If he returns to the NHL as a coach, whoever hires him would likely give him some say into the team’s direction, as the lack of said ability is why he left Denver and headed back to Quebec City. However, it would be ill-advised for any NHL team to consider giving him the roles of both general manager and coach, as he had in Quebec.

Roy was known for his controversial coaching. Another coach known for his bombastic style was Mike Keenan. Keenan won a Jack Adams and guided the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup victory in 1994, ending the team’s 54-year Cup drought. Immediately following the win, he left the Big Apple for St. Louis, where he became the team’s coach and general manager. His first trade was a success, bringing in Chris Pronger for an aging Brendan Shanahan. Afterward, he signed Shayne Corson, stripped Brett Hull of his captaincy and gave Corson the “C”. Hull soon left the Blues and won a Stanley Cup with Dallas. Keenan also traded goalie Curtis Joseph, who was just entering his prime years.

In the 1995-96 season, Keenan made a splash and acquired Wayne Gretzky from LA. Gretzky had 21 points in 18 regular-season games with the Blues and reportedly loved the city, as his wife grew up in St. Louis. Keenan offered “The Great One” a contract extension. However, Gretzky struggled in the playoffs and Keenan pulled the contract offer as a motivational tool. Afterwards, Gretzky decided to sign with the Rangers and left the Blues.

Wayne Gretzky with Brett Hull
Wayne Gretzky with Brett Hull (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Overall, Roy could surely recapture his coaching glory or become a great executive for a team. However, his main gripe with Colorado was not having enough say in the team’s direction. If a team were to hire him to serve as a coach and an executive position higher than Vice President of Hockey Operations, they will need to be wary – Mike Keenan is a prime example of how giving someone too much power can negatively influence a team.