On April 10, 2011, a legend in hockey played his last game. It was a night filled with classic Footer moments and ended in what was arguably the best final shift in hockey history, certainly in franchise history. After the game was over and done, there were still fans sprinkled throughout the arena, staring at the ice and reminiscing on the career of Adam Foote.
While that was a bittersweet night filled with sad tears, tonight will be a celebration that includes only tears of happiness. As Foote's jersey is lifted into the rafters, fans—not just of the Avs, but of hockey itself—and players will remember the hard-as-nails defenseman whose punishing style left a mark on opposing players that would be felt for a lifetime. They'll watch as he is immortalized alongside Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg, and Ray Bourque.
In his 19-year career, Foote played all but two of them with the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise. His loyalty was no more apparent than the night he was traded back to Colorado from the Columbus Blue Jackets, where long before the ink dried, he was on a plane to join the team in Calgary. Midway through the first period, he was back on the ice wearing burgundy and blue.
The blueliner registered 308 (66g/242a) points in his 1,154 games in the NHL, and his 56g/203a with Quebec/Colorado makes him the second-highest scoring defenseman in franchise history. He has appeared in 170 playoff games, sitting just behind Sakic (172) for the tops in that category for the franchise.
Nothing encapsulates Adam Foote's career better than these final moments on the ice:
In addition to all the festivities, there is also a game tonight. The Avalanche are completing the second night of a back-to-back, winning in Dallas last night. The Montreal Canadiens are in town, and old friend Peter Budaj will be manning the net for them. It also marks the return of Cody McLeod after his 5-game suspension for boarding Niklas Kronwall in the Avs' loss to the detroit red wings.
O'Reilly - Duchene - Parenteau
Landeskog - Stastny - Tanguay
McLeod/Mitchell - MacKinnon - Talbot Mitchell/McLeod - Cliche - Bordeleau
Hejda - Johnson
Wilson - Guenin
Benoit - Sarich
Scratches: McGinn (knee), Barrie (healthy)
Game Time: 8 pm MT on CBC, RDS, ALT
Ceremony coverage begins at 6:30 pm MT on ALT