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Avalanche’s 7th Head Coach will be Jared Bednar

After a thorough search up and down the hockey coaching ranks, General Manager Joe Sakic finally decided on his coach.

The Avs announced that after a quick but thorough candidate search that Lake Erie Monsters Head Coach Jared Bednar will move up to the NHL and head the staff this year.

The news was first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger Thursday morning after weeks of speculation following Patrick Roy’s departure from the team.

Bednar comes off an impressive post-season with the former Avs affilate in Lake Erie, going 15-2 in the playoffs and winning the Calder Cup. He also has a Kelly Cup from the ECHL on his resume with the 2009 South Carolina Stingrays.

Prior to his coaching career, Bednar, a right-handed shooting defenseman, played nine seasons of minor league hockey, mostly in stints with the ECHL’s Huntington Blizzard and the aforementioned Stingrays, but also in the AHL with the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Rochester Americans. Since his junior days, he was known as a physical player who spent a great deal of time in the penalty box.

“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 is yet another connection to Avalanche assistant GM Chris McFarland who was part of the Columbus Blue Jackets managerial group that hired Bednar as an assistant with their AHL affiliate in 2012 before he was promoted to the lead role last season.

Earlier this summer, the Avalanche hired Nolan Pratt from the Lake Erie Monsters to serve as an assistant. Now, in an interesting twist, instead of coaching with Patrick Roy, Pratt will serve under his previous boss in the AHL, Bednar. The coaching team, ostensibly, is a major step within the organization to embrace modern, analytics-driven hockey.

More on this later today, the Avs have a conference call coming up and the formal announcement will be next week in Denver.