Colorado Avalanche: A Fateful Talk With Joe Sakic, and a Farewell

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: Former NHL player Joe Sakic is introduced during the NHL 100 presented by GEICO Show as part of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend at the Microsoft Theater on January 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: Former NHL player Joe Sakic is introduced during the NHL 100 presented by GEICO Show as part of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend at the Microsoft Theater on January 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Joe Sakic, GM of the Colorado Avalanche, and I crossed paths last night. It was brief, but what I have to say is not because all good things must come to an end.

I have had the opportunity to sit with famous athletes/coaches before, and pick their brains — I once sat on a plane with John Wooden, legendary UCLA Bruins NCAA basketball coach, and gained an incredible amount of knowledge — but I never thought I would be face to face with Joe Sakic. Furthermore, I especially never thought that it would be in the midst of such a tumultuous Avalanche offseason, a time when I had too much to say, and not enough white space.

That’s a long first few sentences. However, I am still processing. You see, there are more “reputable” media outlets that have the opportunity to converse with Joe, on a somewhat regular basis.

However, there is part of me that wonders if they ever get the chance to run across the man who governs the Avalanche future in a casual way. Joe Sakic must know what they look like. He must know what they write. And, he must have his opinions. After all, news is not objective, no matter how many times a journalist tries to convince you that their news is. And, opinions go both ways, it’s the nature of the business.

The point is, do they ever run into such a polarizing figure, in Avalanche hockey right now, on a total whim? Do they ever have those stories that don’t need the quotes because there was no “off the record” or “for the record” agreement? Yes, in a way. These “reputable” reporters do in fact have the best access to the team, and it’s inside sources, available after all.

In short, they are the ultimate fan. The fan with pure and unadulterated access to something they are extremely passionate about covering. The fan that trumps all other fans with knowledge because they have the most direct line to a dissemination of extremely accurate information most fans would only dream of.

A Fateful Meeting

This brings me to my point. On Thursday night, while meeting my father and sister for dinner, I saw Joe Sakic. Imagine the things I wanted to tell him. Imagine the ideas I wanted to share with him. And, imagine the “fixes” I thought were best for the team. Finally, imagine the questions… Oh, the questions…

Unfortunately, our conversation was short. There was food to eat, and I haven’t seen my dad in some time, so there was that as well. The point is, I stared. Oh boy, oh boy did I stare. His kids were there, and he held the company of individuals I would never expect to see in his sight. No, Chris MacFarland was not there.

This was a family ordeal, and my staring was a problem. So, finally, Joe looked at me, as I hoped he would, and said: “Good to see you again”. I kid you not. To be clear, he’s never seen me before, and I imagine his comment as a sort of formality to counteract my staring, which was obvious at this point.

More from Mile High Sticking

I said: “You too, you’re name is ‘Joe,’ right?” He said, “yes.” I told him that I cover the Colorado Avalanche for Mile High Sticking and he said: “Mile High Sports?” I corrected him. And then, I proceeded to lie.

I told him that “I respect everything you’ve done for the Colorado Avalanche this offseason,” and it ended with a “thank you,” from Joe.

That was it.

But you see, I realized something as I was shaking his hand.

He doesn’t owe us anything. His dues have been paid. He is a legend in Colorado to the point where I can recognize him, and can’t help but stare.

Surely, there was an extreme curiosity from me that couldn’t be sated. I wanted to run to my car and get my tape recorder. I wanted to interrupt his dinner and ask him all the questions that have been babbling around in my head since Erik Johnson went down with injury and Matt Duchene hit the trade block.

But, that isn’t what he wanted. He wanted to enjoy dinner with his family and friends. He is just like the rest of us. And maybe that isn’t striking to anyone, but to me it is.

We’re All Human After All

We can sit and analyze as much as we want. Furthermore, that is his job more than it will ever be for most of us (my dream job is to become an NHL GM), but he is still a human. And we are all, fortunately, fallible. It is what makes us human, and one of the supreme pleasures of being a human is failure.

We learn from it, and ultimately become better people as a result. Joe Sakic is a human. And while I may not respect the moves he has made as a GM, or his perceived inadequacies managing this team, I cannot help but respect the fact that he is human, like the rest of us.

I saw the man. I saw him with his family and friends, enjoying his time, and I could not help but think that he cares. He was generally intrigued when I brought up the fact that I cover the Avalanche. And there is certainly some part of me that hopes he is reading this right now and knows that I care too. That I care about this team, as a dedicated fan, and want to see it return to the glory days, just like he does.

So you know what Mr. Sakic, sir, you keep doing you. You keep resisting mediocre trades for Matt Duchene. You keep holding tight to your vision and you keep being steady even if it seems like we’re missing out on something big. Because now, there is a huge part of me that believes there is something to be said for patience. There is something to be said for what we cannot see. And, there is something to be said for what we cannot control.

Sure, it is one of my jobs to cover the Colorado Avalanche; however, I cover them as a fan. And I am very certain that my knowledge of the team, no matter how much research I do, is still only cursory to the knowledge that is possessed by those who do their best to make this team competitive and noteworthy once again.

I am, in essence, an outlier trying to pose, and stay in vogue when the current styles left me behind years ago.


What better way to end this, than to end this. I was working on a post to inform everyone that my days at MHS as co-editor are numbered. I couldn’t find the words. So maybe the above and what is left in the remainder of this post, will suffice.

I am moving on. It has been my distinct pleasure to be a part of your community and to share my sometimes unpopular opinions with everyone in a way I understand, and know well: words.

You see, storytelling, and I truly believe that is what I do as a writer about the Avs, is the purest form of communication left known to man. We yearn to be given advice, to be given direction and to eventually use those stories for our own advice and direction.

I am not pretentious enough — even though my ego is certainly large — to believe that I have given direction or advice to any of you. However, I do hope that I have told stories you have liked to read, and that I have been a conduit of opinionated Avalanche news you have used as a means for connecting with the team. That is the ultimate goal.

Next: Signing Jonathan Bernier Good Moves By Avs

I do not assume, or fully believe that I have reached that goal, but I do know that I have tried to share my stories — and opinions — with the ultimate goal of giving you something that you read and are pleased to have digested.

I am rambling now. Essentially, I want to say my goodbyes in the midst of one final good story (I’ll be writing as co-editor until the end of July, but this is my swan song, as it were). To have ended my time with MHS on a note that will ring true and reverberate.

It’s about the story folks, it’s never about the results of the story. It rests in the fact that you got to share it. And maybe that’s what this meeting — however brief — with Joe Sakic was about. A confirmation that we are only human. Something I learned from Mr. Sakic in the most covert way possible.

To quote Shakespeare, in a matter of speaking, “there’s the rub”. We’re all just searching to connect someway, somehow and maybe we all just want our voice to be heard.

I hope you all heard mine. If not, I am only human, after all.