Colorado Avalanche: Milan Hejduk Should Have Number Lifted to Rafters


Milan Hejduk is a legend in Colorado Avalanche territory, and he deserves to have his number retired for his achievements in an Avs uniform.

The Colorado Avalanche have lifted five jerseys to the rafters and retired them permanently. Those five men are legends in Avalanche history:

Milan Hejduk’s No. 23 needs to be added to that list.

And, I’m about to hash out the reasons why.

The Duke Played His Entire Career with the Avalanche

Not only did Hejduk play his entire career with the Avalanche, but he did it while playing 1,020 games for the club. That’s the most all-time with the team if you exclude games teammates played with the Quebec Nordiques.

Milan Hejduk was here through thick and thin. He was there for the Cup run in 2001, and here during the dark days with Joe Sacco.

He was captain for a season — one of only four captains for the Avalanche (Nordiques excluded) — and helped lead Gabriel Landeskog into the captaincy. He saw the end of days without a salary cap, and watched the team struggle afterward.

In other words, he saw transition with this club like nobody’s business. And he stuck with the club the whole time.

He probably could have played longer too, but chose to retire as a Colorado Avalanche player. That sort of commitment needs to be rewarded.

Milan Hejduk and His Impressive Career

The Duke is also the second highest scoring player in Avs history if you exclude the years with the Nordiques.

And he had an extremely successful career.

He broke the 50 goal mark once in 2002-03, notching a career-high 98 points that season, and winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Throughout his career, he scored at least 20 goals 12 out the 15 years he was in the league.

He’s also the third highest scoring Czech-born player in NHL history, behind only Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr.

And he did this all as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. The man is a historic part of Colorado Avalanche history, and he needs to be commemorated for it.


When Francois Beauchemin came over from the Anaheim Ducks, he changed his number from 23 to 32. No one has worn the No. 23 since The Duke retired.

So, there is obviously a high level of respect for Hejduk and his accomplishments within the organization. Now, it’s just time to make that respect official by lifting his number to the rafters.

Ray Bourque had his number retired after only playing one full season with the Avalanche. In fact, Joe Sakic is the only player with a number in the rafters that played his entire career with the Avalanche/franchise.

It’s time to add another number to the rafters that is as much a part of the Avalanche history as that history is a part of him.

Next: What Sakic Says About the Season

The Duke made his living as a Colorado Avalanche player, made Czech history as a player for the Avs, and needs to be remembered forever in the rafters as an Avs’ player.