Book Excerpt: Joe Sakic, “Mr. Avalanche”
In these slower-news times, I thought some decent leisure reading might be a chapter or two from a book I wrote in 2016 on the Avalanche, “100 Things Avalanche Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die.” In this, chapter 4, we take a deeper look at Joe Sakic, the player and person.
He is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. He was a longtime team captain. He played his entire 20-year career for the same organization. He later became the team general manager. He is Joe Sakic, Mr. Avalanche.
Sakic, born to Croatian immigrants Marijan and Slavica in 1969, is one of the NHL’s top 10 all-time scorers, with 1,641 points in 1,378 games (625 goals). He won a Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in 2001, he won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2002 as the tournament’s MVP, and he won a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1996. There is pretty much nothing Sakic didn’t accomplish in his long career.
Sakic did not speak English until around first grade, growing up first in Vancouver and then the city suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia. He had a younger brother, Brian, who had a very good junior hockey career with the same team Joe played for, the Swift Current Broncos.