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Just a few hours after Chris MacFarland was added to the Avalanche’s front office as an assistant general manager, the Avalanche were rocked by a pair changes behind the bench as assistant coaches Andre Tourigny and Mario Duhamel cut ties with the team. Louis Jean at TVA Sports was the first to report the coaching change for the Avalanche:
Two members of @Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy’s staff have handed in their resignation. André Tourigny and Mario Duhamel are leaving team
— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) May 19, 2015
An Avalanche spokesman confirmed the report to Mike Chambers at the Denver Post, saying that:
Tourigny is seeking a head coaching position and Duhamel wants to get back behind the bench, an Avs spokesman said Monday night.
Both Tourigny and Duhamel made their NHL coaching debuts with the Avalanche as members of Patrick Roy’s staff. Before joining the Avs, both men were coaching rivals of Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL. Andre Tourigny spent 11 years as head coach of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, while Mario Duhamel spent 4 seasons as head coach of the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
Now, with Tourigny pursuing a head coaching job and Duhamel looking to leave the video room for a bench job, both coaches are hoping to step out of Patrick Roy’s shadow and take more control in their next coaching position. It’s unclear exactly what the future holds for either coach, but there are some intriguing possibilities for “The Bear,” Andre Tourigny.
Tourigny was an assistant coach for Ottawa’s Dave Cameron at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship and Cameron could call on him again as he searches for an assistant coach to replace the late Mark Reeds. In the amateur world Renaud Lavoie considers Tourigny a “strong candidate” to replace Benoit Groulx as head coach of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques.
Andre Tourigny’s name is out there in Hull, if Benoit Groulx leaves the Olympiques, he’s a strong candidate. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) May 19, 2015
Here is where things come full circle.
After an impressive coaching performance which led Canada to a World Junior Championship gold medal in 2015, reports have Benoit Groulx leaving the QMJHL for an NHL or AHL job. Groulx is a close friend of Patrick Roy’s and was heavily rumored for an Avalanche assistant coaching job when Roy first took over in 2013. Canadian news outlets like La Presse and Le Droit reported that Groulx was offered the Avalanche assistant position at that time, but refused. Now with Groulx reportedly leaving Gatineau, he seems like an early favorite to fill the Avs’ assistant coaching void.
Other early candidates for the assistant coaching position are former Avs defenseman Adam Foote and AHL coach Dean Chynoweth. Adam Foote is currently the “Defense Development Consultant” for the Avalanche and could be on the short list to replace Tourigny as the defensive assistant coach. Chynoweth, meanwhile, just finished his third season as head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters and could follow in the footsteps of fellow Monsters coaches Joe Sacco and David Quinn if promoted.
Although it doesn’t appear that the Avalanche initiated either coaching breakup, it nevertheless gives the team an opportunity to improve their staff and start fresh after a disappointing 2015 campaign.