|Podein was honored by the Avalanche Alumni Association on Nov. 6, 2009 |
Born in Rochester, Minn., Shjon Podein was a player Avalanche fans will never forget.
Originally drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 following his freshman season at the University of Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), Podein made his NHL debut for the Oilers during the 1992-93 campaign. After spending two years in Edmonton and four-plus seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, the left winger was acquired by the Avalanche in exchange for Keith Jones in November of 1998.
Known as a solid penalty killer and a passionate player who had a knack for scoring big goals, Podein quickly became a fan favorite in Denver.
“He was always one of those guys as a player that would do whatever the coach asked or whatever the team needed, whether it was play hard in the corners or get you a big goal,” said Adam Foote. “Off the ice he was very supportive of all our young guys and anyone that needed a hand. He was a good teammate.”
Podein played parts of four seasons with the Avalanche, and posted the best offensive numbers of his career during the club’s Stanley Cup Championship campaign in 2000-01. That season, he tied career-highs in goals (15) and points (32) while appearing in all 82 contests. He also skated in all 23 contests during the postseason, chipping in with two goals and three assists.
“I have so many good memories with him,” Milan Hejduk
said of Podein. “He was always fun to be around and joking everywhere, on the ice, off the ice and in the locker room. Just a great guy.”
Foote agreed wholeheartedly with Hejduk’s assessment of Podein, who totaled 71 points (34g/37a) in 239 career games with the Avalanche.
“He was also a character and was a lot of fun to be around,” said Foote. “He always knew when to act up and get the guys loose.”
Podein’s one-of-a-kind demeanor was on full display following the Avalanche’s Game 7 victory over the New Jersey Devils in the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. Podein will forever go down in hockey lore for wearing his full equipment – including his skates – around the city of Denver for a full 24 hours following the victory.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Hejduk said of the feat. “You’re pretty pumped when you win the Stanley Cup, but 24 hours is a long time.”
As revered as he was for his on-ice play, Podein was just as admired for his off-ice contributions. He was constantly recognized for his work away from the rink with the Shjon Podein Children’s Foundation and was awarded the 2001 King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his leadership role and off-ice humanitarian contributions.
After spending parts of four seasons with the Avalanche, Podein was traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Mike Keane on Feb. 11, 2002. The forward would spend a year and a half in St. Louis and another year playing in Sweden before announcing his retirement at the conclusion of the 2003-04 campaign.
In 699 career NHL games with Edmonton, Philadelphia, Colorado and St. Louis, Podein totaled 100 goals, 106 assists and 439 penalty minutes.
Podein became the third player honored by the Avalanche Alumni Association prior to Colorado’s Nov. 6, 2009 contest against the Chicago Blackhawks.