DENVER (AP) — Pierre Lacroix, the astute executive who was the architect of two Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup championship teams, has died.
He was 72.
The Avalanche confirmed his death Sunday.
No cause of death was given.
“Pierre was truly a legend and one of the greatest executives in sports" said Avalanche owner E. Stanley Kroenke in a statement. "He had a ‘team first’ mentality that valued players and staff equally and his winning attitude was immediately evident to our family when we acquired the Avalanche in 2000. Denver is considered one of the world’s towering sports cities and that would be impossible without Pierre’s many contributions, including leading the Avs to Colorado’s first major professional championship with the 1996 Stanley Cup title."
Lacroix was a driving force behind turning the Avalanche into a perennial power after the team relocated from Quebec to Denver for the 1995-96 season.
"It is a sad day for the Avalanche organization and its fans," said Executive Vice President & General Manager Joe Sakic in statement. who played for Lacriox. "Pierre was a visionary and a true leader. From the moment he took over as GM, he established a winning culture that spread throughout the organization. As players, we knew he would do everything he could to help the team achieve that goal of hoisting the Stanley Cup. Pierre was instrumental in not only building the Avalanche into a championship team but also in the growth of hockey in Colorado. His footprint is everywhere in this hockey community.
“Pierre is someone I trusted very much right from the first time I met him. I’ll always remember him as not only a great GM but an even better person. He always treated everyone like family and he wanted us players to have that same mentality. He was a great example to all of us. Pierre was a mentor to me and someone I learned a lot about the business of hockey from. We as an organization and myself personally, will really miss him. On behalf of the Avalanche organization, we are sending our thoughts to Coco, Martin, Eric and the entire Lacroix family.”
The Avalanche hoisted the ’96 Stanley Cup Trophy in their first season in the Mile High City and again in 2001.