The Colorado Avalanche have some new coaches.
In late May, about a month and a half after the disastrous 48 point season finally came to a close in Denver, the Colorado Avalanche announced they would not be bringing back assistant coaches Tim Army and Dave Farrish along with goalie coach Francois Allaire.
On July 7, on Joe Sakic‘s 48th birthday, the Colorado Avalanche announced they have hired Ray Bennett as an assistant coach and Jussi Parkkila as the goaltending coach. Both Bennett and Parkkila will join current Avs head coach Jared Bednar and assistant coach Nolan Pratt on the coaching staff.
“Ray brings a tremendous amount of NHL experience and hockey knowledge to our team and Jussi has a proven track record of working with goaltenders,” said Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic. “They’re a great complement to our current coaching staff and we’re excited to have them join our organization.”
Bennett, 55, has served as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues for the past 10 seasons, working under four different head coaches. He handled many different situations and roles with the Blues from running the team’s power play, managing team preparation and providing offensive play evaluation.
Under former coach Tim Army, the Avalanche power play stagnated. The last three seasons under Tim Army, the Avs‘ power play ranked 29th, 19th, and 30th respectively. The last three seasons under Ray Bennett, the Blues‘ power play ranked 4th, 6th, and 8th respectively. With Bennett now handling power play duties for the Avs, there should be a big difference in power play production.
Parkkila, 40, has spent the last 12 seasons coaching goaltenders in Europe. That includes a five year stint in the KHL and two seasons in Liiga, Finland’s top professional hockey league. This past season, the 2016-17 campaign, Parkkila was in Austria coaching the goalies for the Grazz 99ers. In 2007-08, Parkkila began his pro hockey coaching career with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, where he tutored current Avalanche starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov.