Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Klee: To revive championship history, Colorado sports go back to the future

By Paul Klee Published: May 23, 2013

DENVER - This spring, John Elway held court with the NFL draft, Joe Sakic was given the stage with the Avs, and Walt Weiss lifted the Rockies near the top of the NL West.

On Thursday, the great goaltender, Patrick Roy, was named coach of the Avalanche.

What year is it again?

Professional sports in Colorado are going back to the future.

Someone cue Boys II Men. Dig out those baggy Jncos.

The addition of Roy makes it official: In a sports venue near you, it's always '90s Night.

The athletes who brought the glory days to Colorado are in charge of bringing them back.

The Broncos kicked off the trend by turning over the roster to Elway in 2011.

The Rockies chipped in by hiring Weiss, a first-time manager and a former Rockies shortstop. Just down the hallway at Coors Field are Bichette, the hitting coach and a former Rockies slugger, and Vinny Castilla, a special assistant and a former Rockies slugger. Combined, they played 20 seasons at Coors Field.

The Avs scored the hat trick by naming Sakic to an Elway-like role.

Sakic's title: Executive vice president of hockey operations.

Elway's title: Executive vice president of football operations.

Sakic said he was unaware of Elway's title with the Broncos.

"I haven't talked to him about it," Sakic said.

The Nuggets? At this rate, it seems inevitable Chauncey Billups returns to Park Hill with an influential position with the NBA club.

Elway has given his contemporaries a promising blueprint. As an executive, he has been an unquestioned success.

But until the next championship parade barrels down Broadway, Colorado can offer only a rallying cry: Our executives were better than yours!

Sakic and Elway combined for 22 All-Star games (or Pro Bowls), four world championships and two Hall of Fame inductions.

And what is a class reunion without a touch of smack talk?

"I can't really hear what Jeremy (Roenick) says, because I've got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears," Roy once said, a generation ago.

Roy played in 11 All-Star games, won four Stanley Cups (two in Colorado) and entered the Hall of Fame in 2006. No goaltender before, or after, was better.

On the day of his introduction as an Avalanche executive, Sakic was asked for the key ingredients of a championship team.

"You need great players," he said with a laugh.

We assumed Sakic referred to great players in uniform, playing for the team - not in business suits, running the team.

"When you think about it," Sakic continued, "You can't win without them."

He's right. Colorado's big four haven't won big since these guys retired.

Since Elway directed the Broncos to their second Super Bowl championship 15 years ago, the Broncos have won two playoff games. Since Bichette's final season in 1999, the Rockies have won only two playoff series, both in 2007.

Since Roy retired in 2003, the Avalanche has missed the playoffs five times in 10 years. The Avs own the No. 1 pick in this year's NHL draft. That's good, and bad.

The local sports clubs are rewriting their history by dipping into their history.

Hey, if you can't beat 'em, bring 'em back.

-

@Klee_Gazette

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