DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche have hired Jared Bednar as their new head coach.

Bednar replaces Patrick Roy, who abruptly stepped down as coach and vice president of hockey operations earlier this month.

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The 44-year-old Bednar won the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup championship as coach of the Lake Erie Monsters last season. He also won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup in 2009 with the South Carolina Stingrays.

President of hockey operations and general manager Joe Sakic said upon Roy’s sudden resignation that he’d look outside the organization for Colorado’s next coach. He did just that with Bednar, who had been in the Columbus system.

Sakic called Bednar “one of the top up-and-coming coaches in our business” and said he fit the profile he wanted after going through the interview process. The Avalanche had to scramble to interview candidates a month before the start of training camp.

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“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,” Sakic said in a statement Thursday. “I would like to thank the general managers who gave us permission to talk to key staff members at such a precarious time.”

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he’s happy for Bednar and while the timing may not be ideal the team is always supportive of people in the organization moving forward in their careers.

Bednar played a decade in the minors as a defenseman and followed a similar path as a coach. Unlike his playing days, Bednar reached the NHL in coaching.

“I feel ready for this role with the Avalanche and I am grateful for the trust that (Avalanche owner) Josh Kroenke, Joe and the organization has shown me,” Bednar said in a statement. “This is a great sports market with a passionate fan base and I can’t wait to get to work.”

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