The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed head coach Jared Bednar to a two-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season.
Bednar is in his sixth season as Colorado’s head coach. He owns a 191-154-40 (.548) career record, which includes a 169-98-36 (.617) mark and four straight playoff appearances since 2017-18. He sits just two wins shy of tying Bob Hartley (193) as the winningest coach in Avalanche history.
Overall, Bednar’s 191 wins trail only Michel Bergeron (265) and Hartley (193) in Quebec/Colorado franchise history. Bednar’s 385 games coached are the most in Avalanche history and second in franchise history behind only Bergeron (634).
Hired on Aug. 25, 2016, Bednar is the fifth-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper (March 25, 2013), Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice (Jan. 12, 2014), Detroit’s Jeff Blashill (June 9, 2015) and Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan (Dec. 12, 2015). Bednar is the seventh head coach in Avalanche history and the 15th in the history of the franchise.
The Avs have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, which ranks as the third-longest run of postseason appearances in franchise history. Bednar has guided Colorado to a 24-18-1 record in 43 career postseason games, the second-best playoff winning percentage (.558) among active head coaches behind only Cooper (.603). The Avs have advanced to the second round in each of the past three postseasons.
“Jared has established himself as one of the top coaches in the NHL,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic. “He is a great leader who has the complete trust of our players and staff. Under his guidance our team has continued to make great strides and improve every year. We know he is the right person to help us take that next step and compete for a Stanley Cup.”
Bednar, 49, led the Avalanche to the Presidents’ Trophy and Honda West Division championship during his fifth season behind the bench in 2020-21. Colorado’s first overall finish came just four years after finishing last overall in the standings during Bednar’s first season of 2016-17. The Avs became the first NHL team to go from worst to first in four seasons or less since the Bruins in 1970-71.
The 2020-21 Avalanche posted their highest points percentage in franchise history (.732), topping the 2000-01 team (.720), while Bednar’s .732 winning percentage was by far the best of any Colorado/Quebec coach in a single season.
“I am grateful and excited to have the opportunity to continue to lead this team and build upon what we have accomplished so far,” said Bednar. “We know we still have yet to achieve our ultimate goal but we are confident in the group we have and will continue to work hard to get there. I’d like to thank Stan and Josh Kroenke, Joe Sakic and the entire Avalanche organization for their continued faith in me. My family and I love Colorado and are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful community.”
The 2021-22 campaign marks Bednar’s 20th season of coaching professional hockey, 12 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. Originally signed to four-year contract with the Avalanche, Bednar agreed to a two-year extension on July 9, 2019.
Since being hired prior to the 2016-17 campaign, Bednar’s Avalanche teams have gone from finishing 30th overall in 2016-17 to 17th in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 to third in 2019-20 and first in 2020-21.
Bednar was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year during his second season behind the bench 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 their second season as a head coach than in their first (with the first year being a full season). Sinden led the Boston Bruins to 37 victories in 1967-68 after winning 17 games in 1966-67. Leading what was the NHL’s youngest team (25.8 average age), Bednar helped guide the 2017-18 Avs to their first postseason berth since 2013-14. Colorado dressed 11 rookies, tied for second in the league, with that group combining for an NHL-high and team-record 419 games.
Bednar led the Avalanche to a second-place finish in the Western Conference and third place in the NHL with 92 points in 70 games during the shortened 2019-20 campaign. The Avalanche went on to compile a 9-5-1 record during the 2020 postseason in Edmonton, coming within a Game 7 overtime period of advancing to the Conference Final.
Prior to joining the Avalanche organization, Bednar guided the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, to the 2016 Calder Cup championship. The Monsters finished second in the Central Division with a 43-22-6-5 record (97 points) and then proceeded to go 15-2 during the postseason, sweeping both the Western Conference Final and Calder Cup Final.
Bednar served as the head coach of the Blue Jackets’ previous AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, in 2014-15 and also spent two seasons as the head coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12.
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. He posted a .654 winning percentage (89-45-9) in two years as an ECHL head coach. The Yorkton, Saskatchewan, native was an assistant coach in the AHL with Abbotsford in 2009-10 and later served two seasons as an assistant with Springfield from 2012-14.
The defenseman played nine seasons of professional hockey, a career that spanned parts of eight seasons in the ECHL with the Huntington Blizzard and South Carolina Stingrays (1993-2002), parts of three seasons in the AHL with the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Rochester Americans (1996-2000), and one season in the IHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 1998-99. He was part of two Kelly Cup championship teams as a player, 1997 and 2001 with South Carolina. Bednar was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2020.
Prior to turning pro, Bednar spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League from 1990-93, competing with the Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers and Prince Albert Raiders.
Jared and his wife, Susan, have a son, Kruz (21) and a daughter, Savega (16). Bednar, who lived in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, on two different occasions for a decade during his youth and also played for the Humboldt Broncos, is personally involved in helping the victims and families of the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus accident, which includes co-hosting a golf tournament each summer.