The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the organization has signed head coach Jared Bednar to a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2021-22 season.
Bednar completed his third season as Colorado's head coach in 2018-19, leading the Avalanche to its second straight playoff berth, the first Avs team to make back-to-back postseason appearances in 13 years. The Avalanche defeated Calgary-the Western Conference's top team during the regular season-in five games during the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the club's first postseason series win since 2008.
"Jared has done a tremendous job behind the bench and has earned the opportunity to continue leading this team," said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic. "He is an outstanding coach who has the full trust of his players, coaches and staff. He has guided this franchise to two straight playoff appearances and we are excited with what this group can do moving forward."
Hired on Aug. 25, 2016, Bednar is the seventh head coach in Avalanche history. He owns a 103-116-27 (.474) record in three seasons behind the bench, which includes an 81-60-23 (.564) mark over the past two years. Bednar, who earned his 100th NHL coaching win on March 27, 2019 vs. Vegas, is the first coach to lead the Avs to back-to-back playoff appearances since Tony Granato in 2002-03 and 2003-04.
"I'd like to thank Stan and Josh Kroenke, Joe Sakic and the entire Avalanche organization for continuing to show their faith in me to lead this team," said Bednar. "I am grateful and honored to be the head coach of the Avalanche. We're moving in the right direction with the group that we have here. This team has an exciting future and I am ecstatic to be part of it."
Bednar, 47, was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year during his second season at the helm in 2017-18. He led the Avs to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 43-30-9 record (95 points), a jump of 47 points from the previous year. Colorado's 47-point turnaround equaled the fourth-highest, year-to-year improvement in NHL history.
Bednar joined Harry Sinden as the only coaches in NHL history to record at least 20 more wins in his second season as a head coach than in his first (with his first year being a full season). Sinden led the Boston Bruins to 37 victories in 1967-68 after winning 17 games in 1966-67.
The 2018-19 campaign marked Bednar's 17th season of coaching professional hockey, nine of which have been as a head coach. He posted a .603 winning percentage as a minor league head coach (251-158-23-19), winning championships at both the AHL and ECHL levels. Prior to joining the Avalanche organization, Bednar guided the Columbus Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, to the 2016 Calder Cup championship.
Bednar began his coaching career as an assistant with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL in 2002-03. He took over the Stingrays' head coaching job in 2007-08 and in his second season led South Carolina to the 2009 Kelly Cup championship.
A native of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Bednar played nine seasons of professional hockey, a career that spanned parts of eight seasons in the ECHL and parts of three seasons in the AHL. The defenseman was part of two Kelly Cup championship teams as a player, 1997 and 2001 with South Carolina.