Former Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic is on the verge of earning Canada’s greatest sporting honor.
Sakic, who spent his entire career with the Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise and is now Colorado’s Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations, will be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony Wednesday night in Toronto.
He’s part of an 11-member Hall induction class, which includes nine athletes and two builders. Tonight’s celebration will include the presentation to each inductee a Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Honoured Member jacket and bring the total size of the Hall of Fame to 540 members.
“We are proud to honor the Class of 2013 this evening,” said Tom Quinn, chairman of the Canada Games council and co-chairman of the 2013 CSHOF induction celebrations. “They are truly and inspiring group of Canadian sport heroes. By sharing and celebrating their achievements, we aim to inspire all Canadians to be the best they can be in sport and life.”
Sakic wore the ‘C’ as Avalanche team captain for 16 consecutive seasons (17 seasons overall), making him the second-longest serving captain in NHL history. Sakic led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup titles (1996, 2001), which included the city of Denver’s first major professional sports championship in 1996. The Burnaby, B.C., native captured the franchise’s first Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2001, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1996, earned the Lester B. Pearson Award (NHLPA MVP) and Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship) in 2001 and was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team on three occasions (2001, 2002 and 2004).
Sakic also led Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, helping the Canadians stand atop the medal podium for the first time in 50 years. He also represented his home country at the 1998 and 2006 Winter Olympics.
“When I heard the news I kind of thought back because it was my goal just to play in the National Hockey League,” Sakic told The (Toronto) Globe and Mail in April. “And then to represent your country and [be honored] by Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, it’s pretty amazing.
“It’s something that I never would have ever dreamed of.”
Sakic was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2012, his first year of eligibility, and is the only player who spent his entire career with the Avalanche organization to achieve that induction.
The Avalanche retired his Sakic’s No. 19 jersey during a pregame ceremony Oct. 1, 2009.
CANADA’S SPORTS HALL OF FAME 2013 INDUCTION CLASS
* 1992 Women’s Olympic Gold Medal Rowing Team
Kirsten Barnes, Brenda Taylor, Jessica Monroe-Gonin, Kay Worthington, Jennifer Walinga)
* Murray Costello – Hockey development
* Russ Howard – Curling
* Jean-Guy Ouellet – Canadian sports development
* Joe Sakic – Hockey
* Alison Sydor – Cycling
* Andre Viger – Paralympian (wheelchair racing)