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Sad and Joyous Anniversary

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Woody Paige All-Star Tribute to Woody Paige. Some of the A-list celebs on hand included Pierre Lacroix, Adrian Dater, Sandis Ozolinsh, Paul Stastny, Adams Foote and Deadmarsh, and the governor of Colorado. Ohh, and some stiff named Joe Sakic and his smoking hot wife.

Seriously, today marks the one-year anniversary of Super Joe's departure from the Quebec/Colorado franchise and the NHL. DDC charged me with writing up something tear-jerking and heartfelt, but I'm struggling a little. Joe Sakic is my favorite hockey player. He was the reason I became an Avalanche fan. When I was just a wee lad in the overtly racist South flipping through a box of random hockey cards, for some reason Joe Sakic stuck out to me. Maybe it was the bitchin' blue Nords jersey or maybe it was the way he seemed to be super focused but still having fun in the card's picture. Needless to say, I became a Joe Sakic and Nordiques fan at that moment. I don't know how those things work for other people, but I chose a player and a team and stuck with ‘em. Luckily for me, Super Joe and the Nords moved to my adopted sports home town not long after. Then they won the Cup. It was like the universe was validating my love of the sport, the player, and the team. And I guess on some level, that's what Joe Sakic has always been to me: the best possible choice of a favorite player. And it's kinda hard to put that into words.

Joe was the epitome of a good sportsman, teammate, leader, and role-model in my opinion. There are not debating his skills on the ice. There is no debating his contributions to the community. There is no debating the pivotal role he played in the fortunes of the franchise. Maybe it's just another testament to his "Quoteless Joe" moniker that there just isn't much debate about Joe Sakic as a person or player. Like another #19, Steve Yzerman, the amount of goodness about the guy is something fans and haters can agree on. Respect flows toward Sakic from most everybody.

I hope everybody takes the time to reflect on Sakic for a few minutes today. Look at some highlight reels, flip through an old media guide, or watch one of the Stanley Cup Championship videos. Click back through a couple of the threads we had this time last year and on Opening Night. Try to remember the really good stuff that Joe brought to Avalanche fans. He's still out there helping the community and doing his best to be a great ambassador for Avalanche hockey and the NHL. If you're lucky enough to run into him in the Denver area, let him know how much you appreciate what he's done for hockey in Colorado and what he and his incredibly gorgeous wife have done for the community.

To sum up, I guess the best things I can ever say about Joe Sakic are these: I wish my son could have gotten the chance to see him play in person and I hope my son will look up to him via my memories and the impression he left on me and the sport.