Earlier this year, Avalanche legend Joe Sakic was appointed to the Hockey Hall of Fame committee.
On Wednesday, that same Hall of Fame committee voted to induct the architect of two Stanley Cup winning teams, Pierre Lacroix, into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder. A well deserved honor for one of the most important people in the history of Colorado sports.
— Hockey Hall of Fame (@HockeyHallFame) June 21, 2023
Lacroix was named President and General Manager of the Quebec Nordiques in 1994, and when the franchise moved to Colorado, he came with. And it’s a good thing he did.
He orchestrated some massive trades that pushed a young team full of talent over the top, as they went on to win two Stanley Cups over the next six years. The biggest trade he made was to acquire goaltender Patrick Roy, who he used to represent as an agent, from Montreal in a blockbuster deal on Dec. 6, 1995. Roy was the final piece that gave the Avalanche exactly what they needed to win, but he was not the only big name Lacroix acquired that year.
In October of 1995, he made trades to acquire both Claude Lemieux and Sandis Ozolinsh in separate deals. Both of them turned out to be huge pieces of that 95/96 Cup team, and would go on to play a few more years in the organization.
Lacroix was simply not afraid to make big moves, and that continued over the next decade after the 1996 Cup win. The Avalanche made trades to acquire the likes of Darius Kasparaitis, Theo Fleury, Ray Bourque, and Rob Blake, just to name a few, during Lacroix’s tenure. The latter two were big reasons why the team was able to capture another Stanley Cup in 2001.
In May of 2006, Lacroix announced he’d be stepping down as general manager of the Avalanche, but stayed on as Team President. He continued in that role until May of 2013, when the transition to the Joe Sakic regime began. In 2008, Lacroix was induced to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Lacroix passed away in 2020 due to complications of COVID-19.
His induction into the Hall of Fame is very well deserved. Not only did he build two Stanley Cup winning teams, but by building those teams, he helped Colorado become the great hockey state it is today. The amount of youth hockey players in the state has more than quadrupled since 1995, and continues to grow each year.
Lacroix was not the only Avalanche alum voted to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Pierre Turgeon, who spent his final two NHL seasons with the Avalanche, finally got the call after a very long wait. He was the highest-scoring eligible player not in the HHOF up until today.
Turgeon still spends a lot of time in Colorado, and I’ve skated against him in several charity skates over the years. Needless to say, the hands have not disappeared, and he’s a bit of a jokester on the ice.
Congratulations to both Lacroix and Turgeon, and to their families as well. They will both officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Nov. 13, 2023.