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Avalanche Architect Pierre Lacroix created Stanley Cup blueprint for Joe Sakic to follow

The Colorado Avalanche won two Stanley Cup Championships under the team's first general manager Pierre Lacroix. The original captain is now looking to win his third.

DENVER — It was a season that started with honoring a legend, the Architect of the Avalanche.

The late general manager Pierre Lacroix, who died at the age of 72 in December 2020, led the Avalanche out of Quebec in 1995 and into the Stanley Cup in one swift season.

"He was the presence that every team in sports needs if you're going to win at that level," former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said.

RELATED: Avalanche raise Pierre Lacroix banner to rafters

They won at that level quite a bit. As the GM from 1994-2006, Lacroix led teams to an NHL-record nine-consecutive division titles, two Presidents' Trophies, and most importantly, two Stanley Cup championships.

"When you're caught up in the middle of it, you don't really understand what we did, we actually won nine years in a row, the division," former Avalanche forward Peter Forsberg said. "We went so far and kept the team together."

Keeping the team together like a family, a constant theme for Lacroix's tenure.

"He really cared and when you hear about family, and we all experienced it because we were able to play for him, but it almost gave us some extra push I think, because you didn't want to let him down," Foote said.

Pierre's son Eric had the unique pleasure of playing for his father's teams in the late 90's, and being a close observer of his former teammate Joe Sakic's teams now. He sees a lot of similarities between this current squad and the last one to raise a Cup.

RELATED: Former Avalanche player Eric Lacroix discusses current team's playoff run

"Those guys have done a fantastic job at putting together a Stanley Cup contending team. Now, what comes with it is the pressure, and we'll see what they can do with it, but Joe's used to it," he said. "He can tell you, they won in '96, where they weren't a Cinderella team, but no one picked them to win, where in '01, they all had the pressure to win and Ray [Bourque] was here and it was 'Let's do one for Ray,' and Joe's been through it. That was probably a more satisfying Stanley Cup than the '96 one for one reason: they were able to handle the pressure. I think Joe's driving the boat now and he's been through it and I think they welcome the pressure here in Colorado for the season."

RELATED: Colorado Avalanche advance to Stanley Cup Final for 1st time in 21 years

The Avalanche hosts the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals. Puck drops Wednesday, June 15 at 6pm at Ball Arena.

RELATED: Behind JT Compher's skyrocketing playoff success is a family who has been there from the beginning

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