It has become the new NHL succession program as seemingly every franchise icon steps from the ice into a front office position.

From Ron Francis to Mark Messier from Luc Robitaille to Cam Neely from Steve Yzerman to the entire Edmonton front office they all are former players that teams trust to bridge the gap for fans who love their former stars but will need time to fall in love again with the next group.

Few however have done it quite like Patrick Roy.

A Hall of Fame goaltender and one of the most notorious personalities of his era Roy could well have taken the short cut right to the general manager’s right hand as a figurehead with the Colorado Avalanche had he wished to. Or he could have gone the hockey operations route learned to scout and jumped on the general manager track well ahead of men with many years more experience than him.

Instead Roy went down to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he learned the craft the way it supposed to be learned. The result is a credibility a maturation that leaves Roy absolutely qualified as he begins his NHL coaching career with the Avalanche this season.

“I changed a lot in those 10 years. You know I learned a lot” Roy said in Denver as Avalanche camp opened this week. “It’s not an ego thing; I’m not here for an ego thing. This is how we won here in Denver — we all put our ego aside. I’m going to put my ego aside.

“Everyone’s opinion I will listen to them. I’m not going to scream at them and lose control. You’ll see. I will be under control.”

As it was for Wayne Gretzky with the Phoenix Coyotes — or even a Brian Sutter with the Calgary Flames who could never find players who tried as hard as he had during his NHL career — dealing with players who do not house that fire that champion’s will to win is always an issue when a special player turns into a coach.

In Denver Roy takes over an organization that has fallen into that vortex of rebuilding where losing became such an apparent outcome that “expected” morphed into “accepted.”

Coming back to a place that Roy once knew as a championship organization that attitude must seem completely foreign to Roy.

“We’re going to have a Stanley Cup attitude” he promised/threatened. “We’re going to be extremely clear on the criteria we’re going to look from our team. If it’s the sacrifice part. If it’s the discipline part. If it’s the work habits part. If it’s the team concept part. Our players when they’re going to see this and the direction they’re going to manage their game … in order to win.”