Tonigh, Adam Foote will join very limited company.
His #52 will be raised to the roof of the Pepsi Center rafters in a pre-game ceremony honoring him tonight before the Avalanche take on the Montreal Canadiens. He will be joining legendary names in both Avalanche and NHL history like Patrick Roy (33), Peter Forsberg (21), Joe Sakic (19) and Ray Bourque (77).
Many remember those four names first and foremost when they think of the juggernaut Avalanche teams of the late ’90s and early ’00s, but Foote was just as important as any of them. The rugged, 6’2″ 220lb defenseman was the defensive conscience of the Avalanche. While they were busy running and gunning, he was the stay-at-home defender most teams coveted — big, physical, a mean streak and the physical attributes to be one of the best at his position.
“It’s huge honor, and I’m going up to where my buddies already are, guys I went into battle with,” Foote said.
He began his career in Quebec, a second round pick of the team, and became the last remnants of the Nordiques after Forsberg left and Sakic called it a career. He was an instrumental part in not one but two Stanley Cup championship teams, including one in the first year the team was in Denver.
A little remembered fact about that second team, the 2001 edition, is that they were trailing the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in the series heading into game 6 in the Meadowlands. Foote scored early in that game, giving the Avalanche the early lead that would end up a 4-0 win. They would head back to Denver for game 7 and the rest, as they say, was history.
He’s back with the team as a defensive development consultant since his retirement after the 2010/11 season.
Adam Foote won’t be remembered in the league-wide annals like some of his peers and former teammates, but he’ll be remembered fondly by fans of the Avalanche for all his contributions during his 20-year career. Every goal, every hit, every big defensive play.
Tonight, he takes his place among the best to ever suit up for the Avalanche and it’s as well-deserved as could be.
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