April 07, 2011
The Colorado Avalanche announced that captain Adam Foote(notes) "will make a special announcement regarding his hockey career" on Friday, roughly three hours after the Denver Post announced he will announce his retirement.
His 20-year career included two Stanley Cups and 1,153 regular season games for the Avs, the Columbus Blue Jackets (who will not be retiring his number anytime soon) and, of course, with the Quebec Nordiques, who drafted him No. 22 overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, which back then was the start of the second round.
The defenseman taken right before him? The legendary Steve Bancroft, yet another shrewd decision by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Houses of the Hockey notes that Foote is the last of the Nords to be currently active in the NHL … but much like Yoda told Obi-Wan "there is another" when Luke left Dagobah in "Empire", there are other former Quebec players still active in pro hockey. (OK, it's not exactly like that scene in "Empire", as we're sure none of these people are actually Foote's sister, in an awkward bit of Lucasian plotting.)
Who are the other surviving Nords?
Chris Simon, LW
Nord Life: Drafted by Flyers in 1990, No. 25 overall; played from 1992-95, moved with team to Denver.
Current Status: Playing in his fourth KHL season, this time with Moscow Dynamo. Was a selection for the KHL All-Star Game this season. Has yet to treat another player like a piñata since 2007.
Nord Life: Drafted No. 1 overall by Quebec in 1990, and played for Quebec from 1990-95, moving to Denver with the team for seven games before being traded to San Jose.
Current Status: Was active with the Zurich Lions of the Swiss National League this season, biding his time until some NHL needed a veteran bad-ass to come and save their season. Perhaps no one had his new cell phone number back in North America. The most famous Irish-born player in NHL history and yet somehow didn't make a cameo in that Belfast Giants Mariah Carey video.
Martin Rucinsky, LW
Nord Life: Drafted No. 20 overall by Edmonton in 1991; Played from 1990-95, moving over to Denver with the team. Originally drafted by the Oilers and traded for Ron Tugnutt and Brad Zavisha.
Current Status: Played for both HC Benzina Litvínov and HC Sparta Praha in the 2010-11 Tipsport extraliga league season over in Czech Republic, where no one remembers he was once traded for Patrick Roy.
Keep in mind that along with Foote, we've seen former Nordiques winger Niklas Andersson retire in March after 10 seasons with Vastra Frolunda HC in the Swedish Elite League; he was drafted in 1989, No. 68 overall, and played three games in 1992-93 season for Quebec.