Colorado Avalanche forward, Stanley Cup winner, Olympic Gold medallist, NHL All-Star, and recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, the Hart Trophy, as well as the Lester B. Pearson Award. Joe Sakic was drafted 15th overall in the first round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. He plays the Center position, wears jersey number 19, shoots left-handed, and is 5'11" and 195lbs.
Joe Sakic was born in Burnaby, British Columbia, on July 7, 1969. He began his hockey career in the Bantam midget leagues, leading his team to the Air Canada Cup National Midget Hockey Championships by age 16. Drafted by the Lethbridge Broncos, he played three games with them in 1985-6, before the franchise moved to Swift Current, Saskatchewan for his rookie season, which was unfortunately marred by tragedy. On December 30, 1986, the Broncos' bus overturned and four of Sakic's teamates were killed. In an inspiring display of strength, Sakic led his team back into playoff contention, securing them a playoff slot by eleven points. Following that season, Sakic won the rookie of the year award, as well as divisional MVP.
Sakic made his first NHL appearance on October 6, 1988, recording one assist against the Hartford Whalers. His first goal would come two nights later, against the New Jersey Devils' Sean Burke. By the end end of his first season, Sakic had finished with 62 points for the last-place Nordiques.
The following season saw Sakic assume a more prominent role as the Nordiques' top scorer with 102 points, also making his first NHL All-Star appearance. Despite Sakic's improved play, the struggling Nordiques would still finish the year in last place for the second consecutive year, as they would the following season (1990-1), despite Sakic's team-high 109 points.
1992-3 saw a major turnaround for the ailing Nordiques franchise, who improved 57 points in the standings, making the playoffs for the first time in six straight seasons. That season, Sakic led his team with a career-high (at the time) 48 goals, while earning another All-Star selection. Despite missing the playoffs in 1993-4, Sakic led the Nordiques to a second place overall finish in 1994-5, clinching the Northeast division title.
In 1995-6, Sakic moved with the Nordiques to Colorado, where they were re-named the Avalanche. Leading his team with 51 goals and 120 points, the Avalanche stormed through the season, capturing their second straight division title and winning the Stanley Cup. Selected as an All-Star for the sixth consecutive time, Sakic led the NHL playoff tournament in goals, points, and game winning goals, as well as winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for Most Valuble Player.
The following season Sakic played only 65 games, but still notched 74 points as the Avalanche captured their third straight division title, as well as winning thr President's Trophy for having the league's best record. In 1997-8 Sakic was limited to only 64 games, but still managed to score 63 points, and his seventh consecutive All-Star selection, while leading the Avalanche to their fourth division title.
The trend continued in 1998-99, with Joe leading his team in goals (41 in 73 games), as the Avalanche won their fifth straight division title. The playoffs that year saw Joe notch 19 points in 19 games. The following season (1999-2000) saw Joe score his 1000th point on December 27, 1999, and his 400th goal on March 23, 2000 (which put him ahead of Peter Stastny as the franchise's all-time leading scorer, with 1049 points). Despite playing only 60 games that season, Joe paced the Avalanche with 53 assists and 81 points, while playing in his eigth All-Star Game, while his team captured their sixth division title.
In 2000-1, the Avalanche won not only their seventh straight division title, but also their second Stanley Cup, while their league-leading 52 wins and 118 points also earned them the President's Trophy. Joe led the team with 54 goals, 64 assists, 118 points, 19 power play goals, three short-handed goals and 332 shots, as well as earning another All-Star selection. His +45 plus/minus rating and 12 game-winning goals were both league bests. November 11, 2000 saw Sakic break another of Peter Stastny's records, this time for the title of all-time assist leader. Following their successful season, Joe won the Lester B. Pearson Award, the Hart Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy.
At the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Sakic was an integral part of the historic double gold medals won for hockey by Team Canada (both the men and women won), scoring 4 goals and having 3 assists for seven points in six games for the men's team. In 2001-2, Sakic notched 26 goals and 53 assists in the regular season, before his team was outsed by the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs. This season, Sakic has scored 21 goals and recorded 26 assists so far, despite being limited to only 44 games due to injury.
Editor's note: Joe Sakic was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.