Avalanche Fire Coach Joe Sacco; Columnist Questions Kroenke's Commitment
The Avalanche yesterday fired coach Joe Sacco and confirmed that Dir of Hockey Operations Eric Lacroix -- the "son of team president Pierre Lacroix -- also has left the organization," according to Terry Frei of the DENVER POST. It is an "interesting, even intriguing development, but doesn't dramatically change the realities." Even if the Avalanche "follow up the firing of Sacco with the hiring of a high-profile and/or promising coach, any self-congratulation would be delusional if major changes don't come elsewhere, whether in terms of philosophy or personnel ... or both" (DENVER POST, 4/29). In Denver, Adrian Dater wrote some in the hockey industry "believe changes with the Avs are long overdue." Denver-based NHL player agent Kurt Overhardt said, "Unfortunately, the commitment to excellence that the Avalanche came to town with when the franchise moved here and won two Stanley Cups has waned significantly since 2004." Overhardt places the "blame for the franchise's decline on team ownership, led by Stan Kroenke." Kroenke and his son, team Governor Josh, have "always maintained that the Avs mean as much to them as any of their team properties." Overhardt said, "There are some great management people currently involved with the organization, but it all starts with ownership. In my opinion, there is not a commitment to excellence by the current owner." He added, "The commitment to the current owner seems only to be the Nuggets. The Avs seem to be another date on the calendar, to get parking, concessions and to put a couple people in the seat" (DENVER POST, 4/28).