A lot of years, a lot of work went into Braid becoming first full-time female coach

Jared Clinton
Dawn Braid teaches Sabres players during her tenure with the team (via Buffalo Sabres/Twitter)

Dawn Braid made history this past Wednesday, but she can’t say she ever expected it.

When the Arizona Coyotes hired Braid, 52, as their skating coach, she became the first woman ever brought on as a full-time coach for an NHL team. Other women have held part-time jobs behind the scenes in coaching capacities, including Braid herself, but her new post is historic. And even though it’s been celebrated and written about throughout the hockey world, Braid isn’t even convinced she’s the first.

“If I am the first, that’s great and it’s quite an honor, but I honestly don’t know,” Braid told THN. “I’ve never promoted that, neither have the Coyotes, but if (I am), that’s great. It’s an honor, but I really don’t know if that’s fact. I’m just excited and thrilled about the opportunity.”

But Braid’s success isn’t an overnight thing and she didn’t come out of nowhere to land a full-time gig with the Coyotes. Her hiring by Arizona GM John Chayka and coach Dave Tippett is the culmination of decades of hard work. Nearly three and a half decades, in fact. Read more

Avalanche name Jared Bednar coach after Calder Cup-winning AHL campaign

Jared Clinton
Jared Bednar (Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Avalanche are hoping an AHL and ECHL title can cross over to NHL success as they’ve hired now-former Cleveland Monsters coach Jared Bednar to take over as bench boss in Colorado.

Bednar, 44, is coming off of a tremendously successful season in the AHL in which he coached the Monsters to a Calder Cup in just his second year behind the bench. During the post-season run with the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, Bednar’s Monsters club lost just two games, with both defeats coming at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins in the second round. Cleveland, then known as Lake Erie, swept both the conference and Calder Cup finals.

“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 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.” Read more

Report: Dineen, Boughner ‘major candidates’ for Avalanche coaching job

Kevin Dineen (Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Patrick Roy stepped down from his post as coach of the Avalanche nearly two weeks ago and two NHL assistants are reportedly the frontrunners to take over as bench boss in Colorado.

According to The Denver Post’s Terry Frei, Chicago Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen and San Jose Sharks assistant Bob Boughner are two ‘major candidates’ to assume the Avalanche’s top coaching job and both have ties to the city.

As Frei points out, Dineen spent two seasons at the University of Denver before making his jump to the NHL during the 1984-85 season with the Hartford Whalers, whereas Boughner spent the final two seasons of his NHL career with the Avalanche, playing a total of 52 games with the club across the 2003-04 and 2005-06 campaigns.

However, there’s another tie both coaches share. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline made the connection between Dineen and Boughner, both former members of the Blue Jackets’ front office and coaching staff, and Avalanche assistant GM Chris McFarland, who held the same position in Columbus during the tenures of both Dineen and Boughner. Portzline added that also helps draw the link between Jared Bednar, coach of the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, and the Avalanche. Read more

Report: Two AHL coaches, two NHL assistants in running for Avalanche job

Jared Clinton
Travis Green (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is under a time crunch when it comes to naming a new coach, especially with training camp less than a month away, and he has reportedly already assembled a list that has some interesting candidates.

Sakic has said that he would assemble his list of candidates quickly and start the process as soon as possible, and it appears he has stuck to his word in looking for a replacement for Patrick Roy, who shockingly resigned from the team on Aug. 11.

According to the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers, Sakic is looking at two AHL coaches — the Cleveland Monsters’ Jared Bednar and Utica Comets’ Travis Green — as well as Washington Capitals assistant Lane Lambert and New York Rangers assistant Scott Arniel as potential coaches with the “preliminary phase of the interview process” set to begin. Read more

Blues set for ‘significant change’ to playing style with coaching duo of Hitchcock, Yeo

Jared Clinton
Ken Hitchcock (Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

The past season was the most successful the St. Louis Blues have had in the modern era, but coach Ken Hitchcock isn’t satisfied with stalling out in the Western Conference final. That’s why Hitchcock is turning to new coaches Mike Yeo and Rick Wilson in hopes of making changes to the Blues’ style of play ahead of the new campaign.

Following an off-season of change that has seen St. Louis say farewell to some key players, Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford that the most notable alterations will be made to the way the Blues play in the neutral zone. The departures of David Backes and Troy Brouwer make the team smaller in stature — something Hitchcock acknowledged — but the hope is tapping into Yeo and Wilson’s system from their time with the Minnesota Wild will make up for the loss in size. It’s the first time Hitchcock has done something of this scale in St. Louis, he said.

“This is the first time in five years that there’s going to be a significant change in a part of the system that we play,” Hitchcock told Rutherford. “We’re able to cherry-pick what (Minnesota) did. Their team was built the same way that our team is going to be built this year, not really big on size, but a bunch of puck-hunters.” Read more

Avalanche GM Sakic ‘definitely caught off-guard’ by Roy’s resignation

Jared Clinton
Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy (Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

Few would have expected Patrick Roy to resign from his post as coach and vice president of hockey operations with the Avalanche, and you can count Colorado GM Joe Sakic among those who didn’t see the move coming.

It’d be hard to blame Sakic for not seeing it coming, either. After a second unsuccessful consecutive season missing the post-season and two straight years of taking a step backward in terms of point totals, Roy had managed to hang onto his job in Colorado despite some believing the Avalanche needed a shakeup behind the bench.

But Roy, out of the blue, decided to leave the franchise with roughly a month to go before training camp. Sakic said a lot of Roy’s decision had to do with the team’s performance this past season.

“The big thing when he talked to me today was last year was a tough year, he didn’t have a lot of fun and we always said as long as we’re enjoying what we’re doing and having fun we’ll keep doing it,” Sakic said, via the Associated Press’ Stephen Whyno. “He said in the last three, four weeks he just really contemplated not coming back and not coaching and thought he made the right decision for himself. I totally respect him for that.” Read more

Who could be the next coach of the Avalanche?

Jared Clinton
Bob Hartley (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

After Patrick Roy escaped a second playoff-less season with his job in tact, few would have imagined that the Colorado Avalanche would be searching for a new bench boss come the 2016-17 campaign.

The entire coaching situation in Colorado was turned upside down Thursday, though, when Roy shockingly announced his resignation from the Avalanche, ceding both his coaching duties and position as vice president of hockey operations. With Roy stepping down, Colorado finds themselves in need of a replacement. Making matters worse, the Avalanche won’t have much time to consider replacement and do a thorough search with training camp fast approaching.

According to Avalanche GM Joe Sakic, the team isn’t going to waste any time getting to work on finding Roy’s successor. He announced Thursday that the coaching search will begin “immediately.” With that in mind, here are a few names to keep an eye on: Read more