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New HHOF member Sakic lived up to the hype

by Dan Rosen

TORONTO -- As TSN host James Duthie talked about in his introduction, Joe Sakic was all hype as a young player in junior hockey.

He lived up to the hype -- and then some.

Sakic won the Stanley Cup twice. He won an Olympic gold medal, scoring four points in the gold-medal game. He finished with 1,641 career points.

Sakic always had a place reserved in the Hall of Fame. Now he is finally going to occupy it.

"Joe belongs to the Hockey Hall of Fame because he is a special player," Patrick Roy said on the TSN broadcast. "He is a player that was a difference maker in our game."

In his first remarks as a Hall of Famer, Sakic congratulated his fellow inductees -- showing his humble, selfless side.

"It is such a privilege to be part of this prestigious group, amongst all the icons who have made this game what it is today," Sakic said.

He said as a kid he was just hoping to play one game in the NHL.

"Today, standing here, I feel very blessed," Sakic said.

He went on to say there is no better honor for him than being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and this is a guy who won wherever he went.

He thanked several executives from the Quebec organization, including Marcel Aubut.

"You guys believed in me, and most importantly made it possible for me to live out my childhood dream," Sakic said.

He thanked former teammates, including Peter Stastny, before moving onto the Avalanche.

To Avalanche President and former GM Pierre Lacroix: "You brought a winning culture to our organization when we needed it. I was always proud to wear the Avalanche jersey and I'm still proud to be with the organization. I hope we can bring another Stanley Cup to Denver."

Sakic thanked Bob Hartley and Marc Crawford -- the two Cup-winning coaches in Denver.

He said if he tried to name every one of his "unbelievable teammates" he'd be standing at the podium all night, but he thanked them all and said without them he would not have been in the Hall of Fame.

Sakic thanked his agent, Don Baizley, for all the advice he gave him and the friendship they forged.

Then, he got to his family.

"My parents, I know I couldn't have done this without you guys," Sakic said. "I know it wasn't always easy for you guys…but you guys always found a way to get me what I needed."

Sakic met his wife, Deb, when he was in Swift Current, B.C. playing junior hockey. He said he couldn't have done any of this without her.

To his three kids, Sakic simply said, "I love you guys."

And, to his fans, "It was always a treat to play in front of you guys. I never took that for granted."

Sakic said he was always considered too slow and too short to get to the NHL. and he closed with, "As I stand here now, I'm truly humbled by this honor."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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