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Avs 20th Anniversary Team: Adam Foote

by Samantha Poulos / Colorado Avalanche

ColoradoAvalanche.com profiles the players named to the Avalanche's 20th Anniversary Team.

Not many players can say they spent 17 seasons with the same franchise, but Adam Foote can.

The defenseman skated four years with the Quebec Nordiques before moving to Denver to play with the Colorado Avalanche for another 13 in all.

His tenure with the team is reflected in his franchise accomplishments. Foote’s 967 games played ranks third in team history, and his 259 points makes him the second-highest scoring club defenseman as well. As a blueliner, his 56 goals put him fourth overall and most impressively, his 203 assists rank second in the organization, just four behind John-Michael Liles.

These weren’t the only things that helped Foote land a place on the Avalanche’s 20th Anniversary Team, which is composed of the top 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders in franchise history, as voted on by the fans.

The second-round (22nd overall) 1989 NHL Entry Draft selection sits 17th on the team’s all-time scoring list, and his 1,279 penalty minutes are the fourth-most minutes in the annals.

It’s safe to say Foote made an impact in his 19 seasons in the NHL, playing for both Colorado and the Columbus Blue Jackets. He finished with an amazing 1,154 games under his belt, accruing 308 points (66 goals and 242 assists) during the regular season alone.

After spending parts of three campaigns playing with the Blue Jackets (2005-08), Foote was re-acquired from Columbus on Feb. 26, 2008 in exchange for a conditional first-round draft selection in 2008 or 2009 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2009.

From his first NHL goal on Jan. 14, 1992 against the Calgary Flames to leading the Avalanche as captain for two seasons (2009-11), Foote’s incredible career is highlighted by two Stanley Cup wins.

Rob Blake and Ray Bourque got a lot of accolades for their offensive ability, and they were great players, but Footie was kind of that mean son of a gun who would put a guy's face through the glass and score on the next shift or get an assist on the next shift,” former teammate Alex Tanguay told Rick Sadowski of NHL.com. “What he did wasn't super flashy, but he's the type of guy who adds to a winning team."

Foote’s 170 playoff appearances are more than any other defender in franchise history and his four points (one goal and three assists) in 22 contests in 1996 and seven points (three goals and four assists) in 23 games in 2001 helped his team win both of its Stanley Cups.

"His skill was underrated," Tanguay said. "He might have gotten to play on the first power-play unit with some teams. Here you had [Joe Sakic] playing the point and Ray Bourque or Rob Blake. What a lineup we had. But he was [all-round] a great defenseman. The biggest asset that I think he had that people didn't realize was his skating ability. For a guy who was as rough as he played and as big as he was, he was a really good skater.”

Foote also had a chance to show off his talent on the international stage.

The Toronto, Ontario, native represented his country at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he won a gold medal, and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. Foote was just an IIHF World Championship gold medal away from joining the elite group of the Triple Gold Club.

"He was a heart-and-soul type guy that you love having in the room, who makes you laugh and keeps guys honest as well," Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who lived with Foote as burgeoning young player, told Sadowski. "I learned a lot of great lessons from him. I feel very fortunate to have had him in my life very early in my career. He was very vocal, always talking, always joking around, giving good speeches in between periods. He was almost like a player-coach. He knew the game very well.”

Foote officially announced his retirement from hockey during a press conference on April 8, 2011, and he skated in his final contest on April 10.

On Nov. 2, 2013, prior to the Avalanche taking on the Montreal Canadiens, his No. 52 was raised to the rafters of the Pepsi Center.

"It's huge honor, and I'm going up to where my buddies already are, guys I went into battle with," Foote said about joining the company of retired numbers belonging to Bourque, Patrick Roy, Sakic and Peter Forsberg.

In the summer of 2015, Foote returned to the organization he spent so many days playing for in a development consultant role.

Not only was Foote honored prior to Colorado’s contest against the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 7, taking the ice alongside former teammates and other honorary members of the club’s 20th Anniversary Team, but he also joined his brothers in arms at Coors Field, skating to a 5-2 win in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game on Feb. 26.

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