The Colorado Avalanche have had a remarkable season so far. There has been a lot of praise handed out for their 49 wins (and counting), to Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, and the players. Rightfully so. That being said, Josh Kroenke is not getting near enough credit for the Success on the ice.
On May 10th, 2013 Josh Hired Joe Sakic as Vice President of hockey operations, including the final say on all hockey related decisions. This was the catalyst of the great season in progress. During the hiring interview, with Josh Kroenke, Greg Sherman and Joe Sakic Josh promised big things. When he was asked what he had to do to prove he was committed he gave a bold, one-word answer: Win.
He had faith in Sakic and gave him full control. Sakic then hired Patrick Roy and the two made countless personnel decisions. One major decision was drafting forward Nathan MacKinnon over home-town kid Seth Jones. A lot of people questioned this decision at the time as the Avalanche had an apparent need of a high-end defense man and seemed to have an abundance of high-skilled, young forwards. That decision hasn't been questioned since. Patrick Roy has made a very good defense core out of what he had and MacKinnon is playing a level above what even the most optimistic fan could have hoped for.
Back to the draft choice. Drafting Seth Jones was the easiest marketing decision an owner, who also owns the Nuggets, could have possibly made. Seth Jones grew up an Avalanche fan, his dad, Popeye Jones, was a star for the Nuggets previously, and Seth is a pretty darn good hockey player. If Josh Kroenke was only in it for the money, as many of us had previously assumed, he forces Sakic to draft Jones.
By allowing the Avalanche to draft MacKinnon, Josh proved he is more committed to winning than selling easy tickets. Even in his interview he alluded to wins selling tickets.
In the past, I had him on the top of my list of problems with the Avalanche. I still feel that at the time, that was an accurate assertion. However, he has redeemed himself by stepping in, taking control and making this team competitive again.
After allowing the Avalanche to select MacKinnon, he opened up his wallet. Big time. He agreed to pay Gabriel Landeskog thirty nine million dollars over seven seasons. As well as pay Matt Duchene thirty million dollars over 5 years. This is the kind of man I want as the President of my favorite team.
Josh Kroenke, if you are reading, which I find unlikely, I would just like to extend a personal thank you as an Avalanche fan for the work you have done and will continue to do.
As for the rest of Avalanche fans, we should continue treating this season as a success, continue praising the work of the Coach and Joe Sakic. Lets also however, give credit where credit is due. This great season, starts at the top. Josh Kroenke Stepped up and delivered.