NEW YORK (October 15, 2007) – The National Hockey League Foundation announced that Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic has been awarded the ninth annual NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community. He was honored at a ceremony prior to the face-off between the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames game on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
In recognition of Sakic’s community service and devotion to Colorado’s children in need, the NHL Foundation will present a $25,000 gift to the pediatrics oncology unit at The Children’s Hospital.
Playing his 19th NHL season, all with the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques, Sakic has been a tremendous leader both on and off the ice. Having served as the organization’s team captain for the past 15 seasons, he provides a tremendous example through his hard work, dedication and commitment to the game of hockey and the community.
Sakic’s primary community focus is supporting organizations that provide food, medical care and other resources to low-income families and children. During the 2005-06 season, he served as team representative for the “Tyson Foods Lift Up America” campaign working with Food Bank of the Rockies to distribute 35,000 pounds of food and 12,000 teddy bears to 40 non-profit organizations throughout Colorado. Sakic and his wife, Debbie, also raise money for Food Bank of the Rockies through the annual Joe Sakic Celebrity Classic. Funds from last year’s golf tournament supplied 764,000 meals to the needy. Through both team and personal initiatives, Sakic has helped raise nearly $1.8 million for Food Bank of the Rockies, providing more than 7 million meals to hungry children and their families.
Since the Avalanche arrived in Denver in 1995, The Children’s Hospital (TCH) has held a special place in the hearts of players and coaches. This includes the designation as an Avalanche Legacy Project Partner, the annual team visit during the holidays and partnership on the Annual Charity Brunch and Fashion Show. As an organization, the Avalanche was recently named to the Gates Society of TCH, recognizing donors who have given more than $1 million to the facility. In 11 seasons, the Avalanche charitable efforts have granted more than $11 million to Colorado non-profit agencies that provide programs and services for underserved children and families.
“I'm truly honored and humbled to receive such a meaningful award from the National Hockey League,” said Sakic. “My wife, Debbie, and I understand the importance and impact we can have on the lives of children and their families. In the 12 years we have spent living and raising our children here in Denver, we have come to embrace this community and are grateful that we have the ability to help other families cope with some of life’s struggles and uncertain times that can affect us all. I also appreciate the assistance that the Colorado Avalanche Community Relations staff has given us in aiding our efforts with these groups. As much as this award means to me personally, it’s the product of a team effort.”
Sakic is passionate about youth hockey. He contributes time and resources to numerous Colorado Avalanche youth hockey programs and his involvement in these programs is a tremendous force in strengthening the game of hockey among the children of the state.
“We are very honored to award Joe with the 2007 NHL Foundation Player Award,” said Bernadette Mansur, Executive Director, NHL Foundation. “His commitment to helping children and families and his dedication to youth hockey exemplifies the commitment all our NHL players have in giving to their communities.”
In its ninth year, the NHL Foundation Player Award recognizes an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community. Past recipients honored for their charitable work were: Marty Turco (2006); Jarome Iginla (2004); Darren McCarty (2003); Ron Francis (2002); Olaf Kolzig (2001); Adam Graves (2000); Rob Ray (1999); and Kelly Chase (1998).
The NHL Foundation judging panel consists of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, former New York Islander and New York Ranger and current NHL Director of Alumni Relations Pat Flatley, NHL Senior Vice President, Communications and NHL Foundation Executive Director Bernadette Mansur and NHL Vice President of Community & Diversity Programming Kenneth Martin, Jr.