ColoradoAvalanche.com profiles the players named to the Avalanche's 20th Anniversary Team.
Early in the 1015-16 season, Arizona Coyotes forward Alex Tanguay was selected by Colorado Avalanche fans to be one of the 12 forwards named to the Avalanche’s 20th Anniversary Team, and he believes he was selected because the fans remember the 2001 Stanley Cup championship.
“It means that they have great memories from the early years where we competed for Stanley Cups every year, and the fact that we were able to raise the Cup in 2001 is definitely a great honor,” said the 36-year-old left wing. “I mean it’s an honor to be selected. You know you never expect those types of things.”
“Obviously, if you look at the lineup, there are guys like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg and Ray Bourque, Rob Blake, Patrick Roy. There are a lot of hall of famers on that team, and it’s just nice to be a part of.”
Colorado drafted the forward in the first round (12th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Tanguay skated in 76 regular-season contests during his first NHL campaign (1999-2000) and recorded 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) before adding three points (two goals, one assist) in 17 playoff games.
He was just getting started.
The 6-foot-1 left wing then tallied 77 points (27 goals, 50 assists) in 82 contests and posted a plus-35 rating during his second NHL campaign. That postseason he proved to be a vital member of the Avalanche.
He participated in 23 playoff contests and registered 21 points (six markers, 15 helpers). Two of those goals, including the game-winner, came in a three-point effort in Colorado’s 3-1 victory in Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils.
“I remember how crazy it coming into the rink for that Game 7. The game was at six, and at 3:30 in the afternoon we pulled into the driveway and it was already packed outside,” Tanguay remarked about the 2001 Stanley Cup Final. “The memories of winning a Stanley Cup, I haven’t been able to accomplish that anywhere else. The group we had in 2001, we still have a special bond.”
Having been in the league since 1999, Tanguay has skated in numerous landmark games. Last season, he became the 299th player in league history to skate in 1,000 NHL contests. He joined Adam Foote, Todd Gill, Milan Hejduk, Ian Laperriere, Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Brad Stuart as the only players to reach the milestone as a member of the Avs.
In addition to his nine campaigns with Colorado, the left wing spent seven seasons with three other organizations: the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. However, when Tanguay thinks about his time with Colorado, the franchise, and Denver in general, feel like home for him.
“It’s a great organization. It’s a great city, a city that feels sort of like home for me. I came here as a teenager, and I sort of grew up here,” said the forward. “It always brings special memories to talk about the times here.”
The veteran ranks fourth in team history in points (488), goals (167), assists (321) and game-winning goals (28) and sits seventh on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 488 points in 598 contests. Tanguay also holds the fifth longest scoring streak for the franchise at 16 games, accomplished Feb.6 – Mar. 7, 2003.
The 2001 Stanley Cup champion, alongside other members of the 20th Anniversary Team, was recognized in a special pregame ceremony before Colorado faced the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 7.