All fans in attendance at Saturday's game will receive a free Mike Ricci poster from renowned painter Stephen Holland
Another member of the Colorado Avalanche’s 1996 Stanley Cup-winning team is being honored by the Avalanche Alumni Association before Saturday’s home contest against the Edmonton Oilers.
Mike Ricci, who was a fan favorite known for his gritty center play and toothless grin, spent parts of six seasons as a member of the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise.
He was a member of the 1995-96 Avalanche team that, in its first year in Denver, won Colorado’s first major professional sports championship. Ricci tied for 10th in the NHL with 17 points (6g/ 11a) in 22 playoff games that year to help bring the Cup to Colorado.
“Reech” was originally selected fourth overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft following three stellar seasons with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. With Peterborough, he notched 116 points (52g/64a) in 60 games in 1989-90 en route to earning Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year honors. He made his NHL debut the following year, scoring 21 goals in his rookie season with the Flyers. Ricci followed that up by totaling 56 points (20g/36a) in 78 games during the 1991-92 season.
Ricci was acquired by the Nordiques on June 30, 1992 in one of the biggest moves in franchise history, as Quebec traded Eric Lindros to Philadelphia for Ricci, Steve Duchesne, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first-round draft picks and a young player named Peter Forsberg.
The 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons proved to be two of Ricci’s best offensive campaigns, as he posted 78 points (27g/51a) in the former and scored 30 goals in the latter.
Ricci played a total of 339 games as a member of the Quebec/Colorado franchise, tallying 228 points (91g/137a) in that span. On Nov. 21, 1997, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks along with a second-round draft pick in exchange for Shean Donovan and a first-round draft choice.
After spending parts of seven seasons in San Jose, the Scarborough, Ontario native finished his career with the Phoenix Coyotes. He announced his retirement on Aug. 13, 2007 after playing 1,099 career NHL games across parts of 16 seasons, racking up 605 points (243g/362a) and 974 penalty minutes.
On the international scene, Ricci captained Canada’s 1990 gold-medal winning team at the 1990 World Junior Championship and also helped push Canada to a World Championship in 1994.
He also had a small role as Elmer Lach in the 2005 movie “The Rocket” about hockey legend Maurice Richard. Ricci was one of three former Avalanche players to appear in the film, along with Philippé Sauve and Ian Laperriere.
Currently, Ricci serves as San Jose’s development coach, where he provides on-ice instruction and assistance for the Sharks and also works with the team’s prospects.
All fans in attendance during Saturday's game will receive a free Mike Ricci poster from renowned painter Stephen Holland and see him honored with a ceremonial puck drop.
UPCOMING AVALANCHE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION NIGHTS
Date Opponent Alumni Honoree Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 Edmonton Oilers Mike Ricci Monday, March 1, 2010 Detroit Red Wings Valeri Kamensky