Yesterday we said “Happy trails!” to one of the classiest guys to ever lace up skates. After 20 seasons in the NHL (with the same franchise, no less), Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche called it a day. Sadness!
A native of Burnaby, BC, Sakic was chosen 15th overall by Quebec (NORDS!) in the 1987 NHL draft and made his debut with the team in October of 1988. The list of accomplishments over the next two decades would describe any hockey player’s dream career: two Stanley Cups with Colorado (1996 and 2001), Conn Smythe and Lady Byng winner, member of Canada’s Gold-winning men’s hockey team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, 16 straight seasons as captain for Quebec/Colorado, 8th all-time in NHL points scored (1,641)
It’s a shame that Joe couldn’t call it a career under better circumstances. His final season was plagued with nasty injuries and the Avalanche crumbled. We probably won’t see him on the ice for the 2010 Vancouver Games. I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping he’ll be there in another capacity, and I don’t mean ticket holder.
So enjoy our final tribute to the cuteness that is Joe Sakic – at least until he makes the Hockey Hall of Fame – after the jump.
The hair was indeed great, but is Joe’s character that we will remember him for, on and off the ice: classy, stoic, hard-working, dignified. Of course, what everyone really remembers about Joe is not the clutch goals, or the awards, or the gold medal. It’s the handoff – when Captain Joe accepted the 2001 Stanley Cup from Darth Bettman and handed it immediately to beloved championship-hungry veteran Ray Bourque. If you don’t get the least bit choked up after watching the final 90 seconds of this, you are made of stone.
Thanks, Joe! We miss you already!