You can exhale now, Avalanche fans, the team has a new leader: Jared Bednar

The Colorado Avalanche have hired Jared Bednar as their new head coach.

CHRISTIAN-lighter

Joe Sakic has identified Patrick Roy’s successor as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, and as promised, he went outside of the organization to do so. On Thursday, the Avalanche announced they’d hired Jared Bednar to lead the team going forward.

Bednar, 44, comes to Denver from the Columbus Blue Jackets’ organization. He served the last two seasons as head coach of the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate, which was the Springfield Falcons in 2014-15 and then the Lake Erie Monsters in 2015-16. Bednar was successful in both situations: Last season, he guided the Monsters to a 43-22-11 regular season record and a win in the AHL’s Calder Cup.

“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,” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said in a release. “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.”

Bednar has a connection to the Avalanche through assistant general manager Chris MacFarland, who previously held the same job with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Prior to his coaching career, Bednar played stints in several minor leagues, including the ECHL, AHL and International Hockey League.

Now he’ll get a chance to steer the Avalanche to playoffs for the first time since 2013-14. Colorado missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, finishing second-to-last in 2014-15 and last in 2015-16 in its division.

“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’s hiring comes two weeks after Roy abruptly resigned. He won’t get much time to settle in before the season starts. Training camp begins Sept. 15.