The National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche on Thursday hired former ECHL defenseman and head coach Jared Bednar as the team’s new head coach.
Bednar played eight seasons in the ECHL with the Huntington Blizzard (1993-96) and South Carolina Stingrays (1996-98 and 1999-2002). He totaled 173 points (40g-130a) in 434 career regular-season games and added 17 points (2g-15a) in 56 postseason contests. Bednar was part of South Carolina’s Kelly Cup championship squads in 1997 and 2001. He also appeared in 74 career American Hockey League games with St. John’s and Rochester and 74 International Hockey League games with Grand Rapids.
Following his retirement as a player following the 2001-02 season, Bednar stepped behind the bench and was the Stingrays’ assistant coach from 2002-07, before taking over the club’s head coach for two seasons (2007-09) and added a third Kelly Cup to his resume when the Stingrays defeated Alaska 4 games to 3 in the 2009 Kelly Cup Finals.
Following the Kelly Cup championship, Bednar was hired as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat for the 2009-10 season before being named head coach for the Peoria Rivermen in the AHL in 2010-11. He spent two seasons with Peoria, posting a record of 81-63-12. Bednar was an assistant coach with the Springfield Falcons from 2012-14, and took over as the Falcons’ head coach in 2014-15. He moved with the Columbus Blue Jackets’ affiliation to the Lake Erie Monsters in 2015-16, and added another title as the Monsters won the 2016 Calder Cup title. With the championship, he joined Bruce Boudreau as the only coaches to lead a team to both an ECHL Kelly Cup title and an AHL Calder Cup title.
Bednar is the sixth active NHL head coach to have ECHL ties joining Buffalo’s Dan Bylsma, Minnesota’s Bruce Boudreau, Calgary’s Glen Gulutzan, Nashville’s Peter Laviolette and the New York Islanders’ Jack Capuano.