Jul 7, 2009

Say it ain't so Joe!!

One of the all time great hockey players and all around good guys is leaving the Avalanche. Joe Sakic is announcing his retirement Thursday in a press conference that will be hard for all of us to hear who loved watching him play. Although he is a sure fire first round ballot hall of fame type player, he will probably be best remembered around here as the long time Captain of the team, who was widely respected throughout the league.

In a sport where fights are common, he almost never dropped the gloves. His play was tough, hard hitting and fair, but never cheap. I only remember one brawl he got into, where Doug Gilmore was trying to take him out of hi game by antagonizing him most of the game. They dropped gloves and Sakic beat the snot out of the much bigger Gilmore.

The 2010 Olympics are going to be in his home town of Vancouver, and most of us thought he would play one more year and captain team Canada in front of his home town. But Terry Frei, the columnist for the Denver Post and ESPN, says that Joe has said if he can't play at his best level, he doesn't want to take a spot from somebody else that deserved a spot on the team.

My personnel favorite memory is after the won the cup in 2001. The tradition is that the cup is handed to the team captain to be raised above his head and skated around the ice. Sakic told Ray Bourque, who had joined the Avalanche after many years as a Bruin, to stay close to him. Sakic took the cup and immediately turned and handed it to Ray for him to skate first.

Class, pure class, in a world where there are far too few people to look up to.


  1. I'm not a hockey fan, but this is a nice write-up. I think you might have missed your calling as a columnist.

  2. In a world of over-payed sports stars who whine over money, constantly have one run-in with the law after another, and talk trash about anyone else but their own pompus asses, it is nice to hear about a good hearted person who plays their very best and does it for the love of the game, and not the glory, the adulation, the press time, or the endorsements.

    Thanks for reassuring me that every clown in pro sports is not an assh*le.

    And if Mr. Sakic is any bit of the class act you say he is, I'm willing to bet he was involved with a charity somewhere.

    Kind of reminds me of a classy dude I knew from down Denver way...


  3. P.S.- ditto Diane. You missed your calling.


  4. Sakic was in the mold of the old-time hockey player. There are few too little like him today.

    Who could ever forget his selfless highlight of the passing of the cup to Bourque, one of hockey's all time greats.

    That series, by the way, was one of the highest TV rated Stanley Cups, thanks to Boston's following. We love our own and couldn't have been happier for Ray.

  5. I don't watch sports but I still want to say hi :)

  6. Aw, c'mon, how many times have you gotten to raise Lord Stanley's cup in Colorado? And how many times has it been at the expense of The Sharks???