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Super Joe 07/08/2009

Posted by sportretort in nhl.
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If life were a western, Joe Sakic would ride off into the sunset after his retirement press conference on Thursday. 

Joe Sakic lifts the Stanley Cup in 1996

Joe Sakic lifts the Stanley Cup in 1996

Heroes always go out that way.  Sakic never wanted to be, and would deny that he ever was, heroic, but this humble, sincere, gentleman is a hero to sports fans all over Colorado.  You see, as the captain of the new sports franchise in town, Sakic became the face of the first major sport championship team in Denver.  After the parade, when Sakic came out onto the steps holding the Stanley Cup for the over 200,000 fans to see, it was Joe Sakic who showed Denver that they were champions.  The Broncos had been there for decades.  The Nuggets for years.  The Rockies were in their infancy.  But it was this team that had transplanted to the Mile High City from Canada just months earlier that first made Denver a winner.  The embodiment of that moment will always belong to Sakic.

The only captain the Colorado Avalanche has ever known, “the

Sakic and some hardware

Sakic and some hardware

Captain,” or “Super Joe” is hanging up the skates after 20 seasons.  All of those years were played with the Qubec/Colorado franchise.  He did sign an offer sheet from the New York Rangers in 1997, but the Avs matched the offer and Sakic remained in Denver.  He has big time numbers, to be sure.  Along with the 2 Stanley Cup championships (1996, 2001), he won the Hart (NHL MVP, 2001), Conn Smythe (playoff MVP, 1996) and Lady Bing (sportsmanship, 2001) trophies.  A 13 time all star, Sakic also won World Championships (1994), World Cup (2004) and Olympic (2002) gold medals with Team Canada.  His 1641 points are eighth most in NHL history, and his 625 goals rank as the 14th most all time.  Sakic should be inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in his first year of eligability (2012), where he will join goalie Patrick Roy as the 2nd Hall member to have won 2 Cups while playing in Colorado.  Sakic, Roy and Peter Forsberg formed the nucleus of the Avalanche during the Cup runs.

Beyound the numbers, Sakic was always a class act.  He was humble, refusing to take the spotlight away from teammates.  He was always a

Cup number 2 came in a game 7 in Denver

Cup number 2 came in a game 7 in Denver

 leader in the

 locker room, and was involved in the community beyound hockey.  He possessed a wicked wrist shot, and passed with precision.  When the Avalanche need a critical goal in the playoffs, more times than not, it was Sakic who answered the bell.  Injuries had reduced playing time during the past 2 seasons and Super Joe decided that the time has arrived to leave the game.  He will be missed.

When the Avalanche take to the ice next season, someone not named Sakic will wear the captain’s ‘C’ for the first time.  But Super Joe will always be The Captain.

The Captain

The Captain

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