HHOF Profile: Joe Sakic

Sports in general are full of big, strong, and athletic people who seem to be very different from the rest of us. You can tell when an athlete walks in to a room and it is usually because they are just so much bigger than everyone else. Every league looks for these types of people as they all want the biggest and strongest in their sport to play for them. This is also true of hockey as players have are getting bigger and stronger as time moves on. New training and new knowledge means players can get bigger and faster more than ever. As many leagues look for the biggest measurables like height, weight, and strength the NHL still stays true to their roots. The NHL does look for the biggest and strongest in hockey but they also allow room for the not so physically imposing players. Smaller players can make the NHL and can have an impact in the game. That is because the NHL is as much about skill as it is about physicality. Players need to be physical if they want to survive in the NHL but there are those with special talent that can use their ability to get in the right positions rather than just be physical. These players are few and far between as they require the ability to skate, toughness to withstand hits from bigger men, and knowledge of the game that is better than most on the ice. These players have to be quick and smart to know where they need to be and to get there. There is also a toughness in them that requires them to be able to take a hit form a bigger player to survive multiple years in the league. If they have these set of skills they can be a big part of any team for a long period of time. Someone who expressed this in the best sense was Joe Sakic who stood at 5’11” and weighed in under 200 lbs yet still played 20 seasons nd became one of the best players in the history of the NHL.

Every class in the hall of fame has a number of great players all with their own fan base but one player usually stands out as the best in the class. This is Joe Sakic for the Class of 2012 and one only needs to look at his stat line and achievements for the argument. One of the more unique facts that proves even more than just stats is the fact that he is a part of the Quadruple Gold Club. It is the lesser known yet more exclusive club is for those who have won the Gold medal in the World Junior Champions, World Championship, Olympics, and have won a Stanley Cup. Sakic has done them all as a member of Team Canada and a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Drafted in 1987 by the Quebec Nordiques Sakic was not lights out when he started with a 62 point rookie season. It was his second season when he truly showed what he had earning 102 points and ranking in the top 10 in the league. He would become a co-captain for the Nordiques in his third year and would continue to use his knowledge of the game and his deadly wrist shot to rack up points. When the Nordiques left Quebec Sakic followed and became the first captain of the Colorado Avalanche. In his first season in Colorado Sakic would lead the team to the Stanley Cup and win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. Sakic would add to his awards in 2001 when he had his best season ever earning 118 points while also winning the Heart Memorial Trophy (League MVP), Lester B. Pearson (League MVP as voted by the players), Lady Byng (Most sportsmanlike), and more importantly won his second Stanley Cup Championship. Sakic would spend 20 full seasons with the Quebec/Colorado franchise and would be the captain for the majority of his time there. Sakic was a small player but will always be known as one of the best players to set foot on the NHL ice and will be remembered as such for decades to come as a member of the Hall of Fame.

 

Joe Sakic, C (1988-2009)
Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche (20 seasons)
1,378 GP
635 G
1,016 A
1,641 pts
614 PIM
Conn Smythe Trophy (1996)
Hart Memorial Trophy (2001)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (2001)
Lester B. Pearson Award (2001)
NHL Foundation Award (2007)
NHL All-Star (2001, 2002, 2004)
NHL All-Star Game MVP (2004)
Stanley Cup Champion (1996, 2001)

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