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Joe Sakic

Colorado Avalanche

Sakic was the Nordiques' top scorer in 1995, when the team finished second in a season shortened by a players' strike. On June 21 of that year, the team moved to Denver, Colorado, and changed its name to the Colorado Avalanche. Sakic scored fifty-one goals, sixty-nine assists, and 120 points in the 1995-96 season, and the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. Sakic was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player on his team in the playoffs. He had scored eighteen goals and sixteen assists in twenty-two games.

On receiving the Stanley Cup, Sakic held it up to the 450,000 Colorado fans. He later said, "There is no greater satisfaction than winning the Cup … just thinking about it makes me speechless."


1969 Born July 7 in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
1985 Begins playing hockey with Lethbridge Broncos
1986 Plays with Canadian National Team
1986 Leaves home to play hockey with Swift Current Broncos in Saskatchewan and attend Swift Current Comprehensive High School; bus accident on the way to a game on December 30 leaves four team members dead
1988 Joins Quebec Nordiques after being the fifteenth pick in National Hockey League (NHL) draft
1989 Adopts jersey number 19
1992 Is named team captain of the Nordiques; gets four-year, $8.8 million contract
1993 Nordiques make playoffs for first time in six seasons; marries Debbie Metivier—they will have a son, Mitchell, and twins Chase and Kamryn
1995 Nordiques finish second overall in NHL's strike-shortened season; in June, team moves to Denver, Colorado, and changes name to Colorado Avalanche
1996 Colorado Avalanche wins Stanley Cup championship
1997 Is injured in January and misses seventeen games; Colorado Avalanche finishes first overall in NHL regular season but is defeated in playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings
1997 In August, the New York Rangers offer Sakic, now a free agent, a $15 million signing bonus plus $2 million a year for three years; Colorado Avalanche matches the offer
1998 With eight other Avalanche players, is chosen to participate in Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan; is named captain of the Canadian team but is injured and misses last two games
1999 Scores 1,000th point on December 27
2000 Nets 400th goal on March 23
2001 Leads Avalanche to a second Stanley Cup Championship; signs five-year, $50.5 million contract with Colorado Avalanche in late June, just before scheduled to become a free agent on July 1
2002 Plays on Team Canada in 2002 Olympics

Related Biography: Hockey Player Peter Forsberg

As second-line center and left wing to Joe Sakic's first-line center, Peter Forsberg helps make the Colorado Avalanche a formidable team. Sakic and Forsberg have tied as the two best players in the NHL, and, although opposite in temperament, they complement one another on the ice.

Austin Murphy of Sports Illustrated compared Sakic and Forsberg to Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers. Forsberg's name became a household word in his native Sweden during the mid-1990s. There, he is considered the equivalent of basketball star Michael Jordan in the United States.

Peter Forsberg was born July 20, 1973, in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, the son of hockey coach Kent Forsberg and Gudrun Forsberg. He began playing hockey at an early age and was a member of the MoDo Hockey Club in the Swedish Elite League as a teenager. Even then, he showed remarkable skill and competitiveness in the game. By 1993-94 he was named Swedish League player of the year. He was picked for the NHL's 1991 entry draft by the Philadelphia Flyers but waited to accept the contract until he could further develop his skills. In 1992, the Flyers traded him to the Quebec Nordiques. In 1994, Forsberg played in the Lillehammer, Norway, Winter Olympics, and his team became the first Swedish team to win the gold medal. Forsberg's final shot against Canada's Paul Kariya won the game, and Sweden issued a postage stamp featuring Forsberg and the team.

In 1994-95 with the Nordiques, Forsberg was named Rookie of the Year by the NHL and won the Calder Memorial Award. He moved to Denver, Colorado, when the Nordiques became the Avalanche and began playing with Sakic. The team won the Stanley Cup that year, with Forsberg scoring ten postseason goals. He brought the Cup to Sweden for the first time in history. He also helped the Avalanche to a second Stanley Cup in 2000-2001. Forsberg missed the regular season in 2001-2002 while recovering from a spleen operation and ankle surgeries but was back for the playoffs and led all scorers with twenty-seven points in twenty games.

The Avalanche had another great season in 1996-97, finishing first overall and winning the President's Trophy, in spite of injuries that kept Sakic and second-line center Peter Forsberg out of seventeen games. Sakic was playing well again by the playoffs, however, and the team had a winning streak before falling prey to the Detroit Red Wings.

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