ColoradoAvalanche.com profiles the players named to the Avalanche's 20th Anniversary Team.
On Feb. 21, 2001, defenseman Rob Blake was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for the conclusion of the 2000-01 campaign. After skating in the first 54 games that year with the Los Angeles Kings, the franchise he began his career with, Blake quickly adjusted and helped the Avalanche become Stanley Cup champions.
"In 2001 midseason, I was in Calgary out for dinner with some of my friends and my phone rang and it was a 303 area code number," Blake recalled during his Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech last November. "The voice on the other end said, 'It's Pierre Lacroix, and I want to welcome you to the Colorado Avalanche.'"
After that phone call, Blake went on to play 13 regular-season games for the Avs and registered 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and eight penalty minutes before the playoffs began. During the 2001 postseason, the blueliner brought his game up a notch as he played in 23 postseason contests and recorded 19 points (six goals, 13 assists), 16 penalty minutes and a plus-6 rating before helping Colorado raise the Stanley Cup for the second time in six years.
After that championship year, Blake went on to play four full seasons (2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2005-06) with the Avalanche. In his 322 regular-season games in an Avs sweater, the Simcoe, Ontario, native totaled 208 points (62 goals, 146 assists), 10 game-winning goals and a plus-55 rating.
Throughout his 20-year career, Blake earned 777 points in 1,270 regular-season games. He tallied 537 assists and found the back of the net 240 times, placing him 11th on the NHL's all-time goals list for defensemen.
He was also selected to seven NHL All-Star Games (1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004) and represented Canada at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Olympics. When Team Canada won the gold medal in 2002, Blake became the 11th member of the Triple Gold Club, having won the Stanley Cup and goal medals at the Olympics and World Championship.
Blake was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2014 with former Colorado teammate Peter Forsberg. Blake and Forsberg became the fifth and sixth former members of the Avs to be inducted, joining Jari Kurri (class of 2001), Ray Bourque (class of 2004), Patrick Roy (class of 2006) and Joe Sakic (class of 2012). All six players were selected in their first year of eligibility.
During his induction speech, the former blueliner expressed his gratitude to the Avalanche organization for the chance to play for the Stanley Cup.
"I walked into the dressing room of the Pepsi Center with some of the greatest leaders our sport has seen: Patrick Roy, the great Ray Bourque, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and Chris Drury," Blake said of his first season with the Avalanche. "You know, not only a great team and great players, but they were poised to win.
"To Pierre, the Colorado Avalanche, thank you for the opportunity to play for the Cup."
Blake, as well as the other members of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be honored in a special on-ice ceremony at Pepsi Center on Dec. 7 before Colorado’s contest against the Minnesota Wild.