Two important Avalanche jobs were filled by familiar faces Friday when the team hired former players Steve Konowalchuk and Adam Deadmarsh as coaches.
Konowalchuk was named an Avs assistant coach, while Deadmarsh will be the new video/development coach.
Though they never played together with the Avs, Kono-walchuk and Deadmarsh played a year of junior hockey together (1991-92) with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.
"It's great to see both of them back. Both of them wore the uniform with pride," Avs captain Joe Sakic said. "You know they're going to want to get us back to where we should be."
This will be Konowalchuk's second stint working in Avalanche management, but it will be the 36-year-old's first coaching opportunity.
"The decision to move back to Denver, one year after leaving, was simple: the passion of the people involved with the organization," Konowalchuk said. "We want to help bring the Avalanche back and will work hard to do it."
Deadmarsh, 34, one of the more popular players in Avs history who retired prematurely from the NHL in 2005 because of post-concussion syndrome, is thrilled at the chance to get back into hockey.
"When there were some changes made in the Colorado coaching staff, I threw my hat in the ring, and I couldn't be happier that they had some interest in me," Deadmarsh said. "It's just great to be given this chance, and to be back in Denver. We always loved it there, and I can't wait to get started."
After retiring from the Los Angeles Kings, Deadmarsh got away from hockey. He continued to recuperate from the concussion problems that have now largely dissipated, dabbling in the construction business and living a quiet family life in Idaho. But recently, the stirrings for hockey returned, and when several coaching vacancies on the Avs opened, Deadmarsh let it be known he was
Deadmarsh, who played on two U.S. Olympic teams, won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996. In 453 career games with Quebec/Colorado, Deadmarsh scored 288 points before being traded to the Kings in 2001.
Konowalchuk played 97 games over two seasons with the Avs before retiring during training camp in 2006.
Konowalchuk said he has yet to go over particulars with head coach Joe Sacco and assistant Sylvain Lefebvre regarding his areas of responsibility with the team. He left the Avs after his one year in management to get involved in coaching a junior B team in Fernie, British Columbia — the Fernie Ghostriders.
Sakic, who turns 40 next month, said he is feeling "real good" lately and is working out locally, including lots of Pilates. He said a decision about whether or not to play a 21st season for the Avs would be made within two weeks.
Adrian Dater: 303-954-1360 or firstname.lastname@example.org