The player behind one of the most important goals in franchise history will be recognized by the Avalanche Alumni Association as its fourth honoree prior to Colorado’s Nov. 23 game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
German-born Uwe Krupp brought home Colorado’s first major professional sports championship when he scored the 1996 Stanley Cup-winning goal at the 4:31 mark in the third overtime of Game Four against the Florida Panthers. His slap shot from the point that beat John Vanbiesbrouck stands as one of the most prominent moments in Avalanche history. As a result, Krupp became the first German-born player to win the Stanley Cup.
The 1995-96 playoffs were good for Krupp as a whole, as he ranked second among Avs defensemen in scoring with 16 points (4g/12a) in 22 games.
Krupp was acquired by the Quebec Nordiques in a trade with the New York Islanders prior to the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, a year before the Quebec Nordiques franchise moved to Colorado, Krupp led all Nordiques defensemen in scoring with 23 points (6g/17a) in 44 games and was the only defender to record a hat-trick in the NHL that year, a feat he performed on March 1, 1995 against Tampa Bay.
In parts of four seasons with the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise, Krupp totaled 78 points (19g/59a) in 188 games.
Krupp was drafted in the eleventh round of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. He would spend parts of six seasons with Buffalo, including the 1990-91 campaign in which Krupp would notch 44 points (12g/32a) in 74 games and earn a spot on the Wales Conference All-Star team.
To go along with his Cup victory in 1996 with the Avalanche, Krupp was also a member of the Detroit Red Wings’ Stanley Cup championship team in 2002. However, due to injuries, Krupp played only eight regular season games and two playoff contests, so he did not qualify to have his name engraved on the Cup a second time.
Krupp represented his home country five times in international play. In four of those instances he represented West Germany (twice at the World Junior Championship and twice at the World Championship). He also represented a unified Germany at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound defenseman made his NHL debut in the 1986-87 season with the Sabres and appeared in 26 contests for the club. The rest of the season he played for the Rochester Americans of the AHL, helping the team to the Calder Cup championship.
In all, Krupp played 729 career NHL games for five different franchises (Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Quebec/Colorado, Detroit and the Atlanta Thrashers) before retiring after the 2002-03 season. He finished his career with 281 points (69g/212a) and 660 penalty minutes.
After his playing career was over, Krupp was immediately inducted into the German Hockey Hall of Fame. Krupp became head coach of the German National Team shortly before the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, and will also lead the team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.