While several current Colorado Avalanche players were getting ready to play in the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship gold-medal game on Sunday, three former Avs were being inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
Former Avalanche captain and current executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic, defenseman Uwe Krupp and forward Teemu Selanne represented the organization at this year's hall of fame ceremony at the German Sport and Olympic Museum in Cologne, Germany. They were joined by fellow 2017 inductees Saku Koivu, Angela Ruggiero, Dieter Kalt, Tony Hand and Patrick Francheterre.
Sakic captained the Avalanche/Nordiques for 17 seasons and retired in 2009 as the eighth-highest scorer in NHL history with 1,614 points. He ranked seventh all time in both playoff goals (84) and points (188) and still holds the NHL record for postseason overtime goals with eight.
A member of both the Avalanche's 1996 and 2001 Stanley Cup-winning teams, the center was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012 in his first year of eligibility.
Sakic is the 12th member of the Triple Gold Club and began his journey in international lore by helping Canada win gold at the 1988 World Junior Championship. He later won a silver medal at the 1991 World Championship before winning gold in 1994.
He was part of Canada's historic 2002 Olympic team that won gold for the first time in 50 years and scored two goals, including the game-winner, in the final game against rival USA before being named tournament MVP. Sakic later won the World Cup in 2004 with Canada and captained his country at the 2006 Olympics.
"It was always very humbling playing for your country," Sakic told the official IIHF website. "To be able to play in the World Championships, Olympics, World Cup, there is nothing like it. I am very fortunate for my teammates. I've had the good fortune to play with some of the best to play the game and learn from them."
Krupp appeared in 729 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers. He scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in triple overtime in Game 4 of Colorado's championship victory over the Florida Panthers in 1996, becoming the first German player to win the Cup.
A member of Germany's squad at the 1983 and 1985 World Junior Championship, Krupp also played at the 1990 World Championship and 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The Cologne native coached Germany at the Worlds from 2006 to 2011 and at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
"I am privileged and fortunate to know so many people who were able to take this awkward kid from Cologne, Germany, the first German to come to North America to help him on his way and help him learn to play hockey in the best league in the world," he said.
Selanne scored 684 goals and 1,457 points in 1,451 NHL games over the course of 21 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. The Finland native appeared at the World Championship five times, winning a silver and bronze medal while recording 48 points (25 goals and 23 assists) in 43 contests
He was a member of Finland's Olympic Team at six Winter Games, taking home a silver in 2006 and a bronze in 1998, 2010 and 2014--the latter of which was his final international competition where he was also named tournament MVP.
Selanne also competed at the 1989 World Junior Championship and in the 1996 and 2006 World Cup of Hockey. His No. 8 is retired by the Finland men's national ice hockey team.
"It has been an honor to put this jersey on," Selanne said of wearing Finland's colors. "You can't describe this feeling of what it means to put this jersey on and play for your own country. I am so very thankful."
The IIHF hall of fame began in 1997 and is now in its 20th year. It is housed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.