DENVER (AP) — The Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche have promoted Joe Sakic to the role of president of hockey operations.
Sakic was the architect behind a team that captured its first title since 2001. The Hall of Fame forward-turned-front office executive was recently honored as the general manager of the year.
The team also announced Monday that assistant GM Chris MacFarland will now serve as the GM.
Colorado capped its most successful regular season by dethroning the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the final. The Avalanche closed out the series in six games and finished the postseason with a 16-4 mark.
It was another title for Sakic, who was the captain of the Avalanche when they hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001. He became the first in NHL history to win as a captain and GM with the same organization.
In Sakic fashion, though, he deflected praise.
“It’s a team award. We’ve got a great staff: Chris MacFarland is huge on this,” Sakic said at the NHL draft in Montreal last week. “We do everything together. It’s our scouts, every one of them — pro, amateur. But it’s the team, the players. They were so committed this year and the coaching staff. To me, it’s not an individual award. It’s an organizational award.”
Colorado finished with a combined 72 wins through the playoffs and regular season. That ties the league record set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens and matched by the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers and 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings.
Sakic retired from the Avalanche as a player in July 2009. He was hired as an executive advisor/alternate governor by the team in March 2011. This was his ninth season as the team's executive vice president/GM.
The team began what figures to be a busy offseason by re-signing veteran forward Andrew Cogliano to a one-year deal. Colorado also acquired goaltender Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers in a move that likely spells the end of Darcy Kuemper's time in Denver.
The Avalanche have quite a few free agents on their roster, including forwards Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin. There's also defensemen such as Josh Manson and Jack Johnson.
They have a strong nucleus with Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog.
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press