As the July 1, 2001, deadline approached for Sakic to become an unrestricted free agent, Lacroix remained hopeful that Sakic would stay with his team. In a suspenseful last-minute signing, Sakic and teammates Patrick Roy and Rob Blake made a commitment to stay in Denver. Sakic's five-year contract was for $50.5 million, with an optional sixth year making it $57 million. The top salary for the previous single season in the NHL had been $10 million. Lacroix said in Sports Illustrated of the signing, "To have athletes like Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, and Rob Blake commit themselves to this organization and market before having a chance to be an unrestricted free agent indicates how special they are and how equally special this city and hockey environment is." The Denver fans had indeed showed their appreciation: the Avalanche's home games were sold out 295 consecutive times, including playoffs, since 1995.
Since re-signing with the Avalanche, Sakic has continued to work toward making the team the consistent best in the NHL. He scored a total of seventy-nine points during the 2001-2002 season and again played with Team Canada at the Olympics, where he scored four goals and three assists in six games.
Cultivating his quiet leadership ability, Sakic has become not only one of the most respected players in the league but also one of the most admired team captains. His numerous awards and generous contracts speak for his value as a player, and his steadfast loyalty to the Avalanche shows his dedication to the principle that winning is a team effort. He once told Sporting News, "Pressure is part of the game. But I don't worry about it. I just go out and play the game as hard as I can."