Pierre Lacroix recently completed his 18th season overseeing the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise.
As General Manager from 1994-95 to 2005-06, Lacroix built the foundation of one of the finest decades of any team in NHL and major league sports history. In 2006, he stepped aside as GM but has continued to be a part of the organization's front office for the last seven seasons.
Lacroix’s resume speaks for itself: an NHL record nine consecutive division titles; six appearances in the Western Conference Finals; two Presidents’ Trophies (1996-97, 2000-01); two Western Conference Championships (1996, 2001) and two Stanley Cup Championships (1996, 2001).
In recognition of his achievements, Pierre was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame on April 8, 2008.
“Looking back now, as proud as I am of the banners and the trophies, I can tell you I’m most proud of the identity that every coach and player who wore the ‘A’ helped to create,” said Lacroix to close out his induction speech. “I came to Colorado with a dream and a vision for the hockey fans in Denver and throughout the state to have more than just a team they could call their own; I wanted them to embrace the idea of the Avalanche. I wanted the name and logo to stand for something more than just uniforms, more than just a game. In my mind, I wanted it to stand for a commitment to excellence and to represent class and character.”
The Avalanche franchise became very popular in its inaugural season in Denver en route to capturing the 1996 Stanley Cup, the city’s first major sports championship. From November 9, 1995 to October 14, 2006, the Avalanche registered a sellout streak of 487 consecutive games, the longest recorded streak in NHL history.
Lacroix was named General Manager of the Quebec Nordiques on May 24, 1994. Under his leadership, the organization compiled a record of 473-259-106-30, the NHL’s second highest winning percentage in that span (.623). In fact, only six other franchises in the four major sports (out of a total of 122 teams) posted a higher winning percentage than the Nordiques/Avalanche during that time frame.
Over his nearly 40 years in the professional hockey industry, Lacroix has seen personal success on both sides of the bargaining table. Prior to joining the Nordiques, Lacroix spent 21 years as one of the most revered player agents in the business. Lacroix was the founder of JANDEC, Inc., which specialized in player representation. He cut all ties with JANDEC, Inc., when he moved on to the National Hockey League, and the firm still operates to this day.
Following his first season as GM in 1994-95, Lacroix was faced with the challenge of moving the franchise to Colorado. He had a mere 60 days to turn the Quebec Nordiques into the Colorado Avalanche, hire new personnel, and become a fully operational organization in time for the start of the 1995-96 season.
During the first half of the ’96 campaign, Lacroix acquired Claude Lemieux, Sandis Ozolinsh and Patrick Roy in separate trades, vaulting Colorado to the top of the NHL. For his efforts, he was named the 1996 Executive of the Year by The Hockey News. Lacroix was promoted to President and General Manager during that summer.
The Avalanche enjoyed its most successful season in franchise history in 2000-01, setting new marks in wins (52) and points (118) en route to the franchise’s second Presidents’ Trophy. The Avalanche, built through keen drafting and shrewd trades, which brought the likes of Ray Bourque and Rob Blake to Colorado, propelled its way to the Stanley Cup Championship that season.
Off the ice, Lacroix’s drive for the organization to be involved in community and charitable endeavors spawned the Colorado Avalanche Charity Fund (CACF), which was recognized nationally for its contributions to the Denver area. The CACF distributed more than $11 million to Colorado charities from 1995-2006. Included was Lacroix’s inspired “Legacy Project,” which celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Avalanche in Denver by distributing $1 million in grants to 10 Denver charities in one night.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Pierre and his wife, Colombe, reside in Denver. They have two sons, Martin and Eric, and are the proud grandparents of Max, Mia and Ty.