Pierre Lacroix, who won the Stanley Cup twice as general manager of the Colorado Avalanche, died Sunday. He was 72.
“It is with great sadness that the Colorado Avalanche organization has learned of the passing of Pierre Lacroix,” the Avalanche said in a statement. “Pierre was the architect of the Avalanche’s two Stanley Cup championships, which included the city of Denver’s first major sports championship in 1996. Pierre was instrumental in not only the team’s on-ice success but also building the Avalanche brand into what it is today. His legacy reaches far beyond the NHL level and his impact can be felt throughout all of youth hockey in the Rocky Mountain region. Our thoughts are with the Lacroix family during this difficult time, his wife, Colombe, his sons Martin and Eric, and his three grandchildren.”
Hired by the Quebec Nordiques on May 24, 1994, Lacroix continued in his role as general manager when the team moved to Colorado before the 1995-96 season. Under his leadership, the Nordiques/Avalanche finished first in their division in his first nine seasons as GM and qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his 11 seasons, winning the Cup in 1996 and 2001.
Lacroix’s tenure was also highlighted by blockbuster trades made to acquire future Hockey Hall of Famers Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque and Rob Blake. Roy arrived from the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 6, 1995 and the goalie was a member of each championship team for the Avalanche. Bourque was acquired from the Boston Bruins on March 6, 2000 and Blake was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 21, 2001. The defensemen helped Colorado win the Stanley Cup in 2001.
Lacroix later served as team president from 2006-13. Prior to his successful run as general manager, he was an NHL player agent, and Roy was one of his clients.
“Pierre Lacroix’s eye for talent, appreciation for elite-level athletes and fearlessness in pulling off the big trade made him one of the most successful team builders in recent NHL history,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Fiercely competitive and personally engaging, he was highly regarded by his fellow General Managers and his voice was respected throughout the League.
“Following a successful career as a player agent, Lacroix became President and General Manager of the Quebec Nordiques in 1994, shepherded the team’s relocation the following year and established the Colorado Avalanche as a model franchise while re-establishing the NHL in Denver.
“The teams Lacroix built won nine division titles in his first nine seasons as a general manager and captured the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001. Having represented such superstar Quebec players as Patrick Roy and Mike Bossy as an agent, Lacroix traded for Roy, Ray Bourque and Rob Blake as a GM to complete Avalanche teams with young mainstays such as Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, turning them into champions. The National Hockey League mourns his passing and sends our condolences to his wife, Colombe, their sons, Martin and Eric, and the entire Lacroix family.”