Colorado Avalanche fire coach Granato

The Colorado Avalanche began their rebuilding process in a major way Wednesday, firing head coach Tony Granato and naming Greg Sherman general manager.

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche began their rebuilding process in a major way Wednesday, firing head coach Tony Granato and naming Greg Sherman general manager.

The NHL club sacked Granato and five other members of the hockey operations staff after the team boasted its worst record since moving from Quebec to Denver in 1995.

Other firings include assistant coaches Jacques Cloutier and Dave Barr, goaltending coach Jeff Hackett, assistant to the general manager Michel Goulet and video co-ordinator P.J. DeLuca.

Granato has appeared on his way out for a while. Last week, Patrick Roy turned down an offer to become the team’s new head coach.

Sherman, 39, has served as the team’s assistant GM for the past seven years, and has spent 13 years with the organization.

“Greg Sherman deserves the opportunity to prove he can be an effective general manager in our business,” Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix said Wednesday in a statement. “He has shown that he possesses the necessary qualities required to be successful with this new challenge in front of him.

“Surrounded by a strong hockey staff and under my supervision, he will have all the necessary support to lead the Avalanche in this new direction.”

Sherman succeeds Francois Giguere, who was fired April 13 following Colorado’s 32-45-5 finish, which placed them last in the Western Conference.

“I look forward to the challenge,” said Sherman. “We all know the task ahead and we need to get to work. There are a lot of things to be done here.

“I am surrounded by a group that has great knowledge of the business and we are looking towards the future with a lot of optimism. Our fans can rest assured that every effort will be taken to bring an exciting brand of hockey back to Pepsi Center.”

Colorado also named Craig Billington the team’s new vice-president of hockey operations and assistant general manager. David Oliver was promoted to director of player development, while Eric Lacroix was hired on as director of player personnel.

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