Shaw, Roy bring winning backgrounds to young teams

Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw and Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy look to achieve success in their first head coaching roles in the NBA and NHL.
by Aaron Lopez

One honed his skills on the courts of Northern California, while the other learned his craft on the ice sheets of Eastern Canada.

Brian Shaw was a role player throughout his 14-year NBA career, while Patrick Roy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after setting new standards for goaltenders during his 18 years in the NHL.

On the surface, Shaw and Roy have little in common other than their athletic gifts.

In reality, their past accomplishments and current job descriptions are remarkably alike.

Shaw is the 47-year-old rookie head coach of the Denver Nuggets. He brings five NBA championship rings (three as a player, two as an assistant coach) to the table and nearly a decade of experience developing young players.

Roy is the 47-year-old rookie head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. He won four Stanley Cup titles as a player and added a Memorial Cup championship while coaching in the Canadian Hockey League.

Their success as both players and coaches was not lost on Josh Kroenke, who oversees both franchises as team president.

“I saw similarities between the two teams – young rosters trying to grow and take that next step,” Kroenke said. “Brian has three championships as a player, two as a coach. Patrick had four as a player, and he won a Memorial Cup with Quebec. That kind of championships pedigree is something you can't take lightly.”

Shaw inherits a team that could have its nucleus intact after winning 57 games last season. Though they were successful during the regular season, the Nuggets lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Roy inherits a team that just added the No. 1 overall draft pick to a young roster that boasts dynamic building blocks in Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly.

Each coach will enter his first year with expectations to win, while also teaching the players what it takes to be championship contenders.

“With both Patrick and Brian, there's a process to winning. You have to lay a foundation,” Kroenke said. “You have to have that in the front of your mind on a daily basis and build toward it.

“Some teams have the luxury of going after a certain free agent, fill a need that way (and) make a huge leap overnight. I think with the way we're positioned right now, we have some very good players on both teams, and as long as they're developed and their teams continue to be built in the proper way, the sky is the limit for both teams and both coaches.”