Ishockey NHLIn just a few hours, perhaps the best hockey player to ever lace up skates for the Colorado Avalanche will announce his retirement. Joe Sakic’s storied career has come to an end, eliciting strong emotion from all over North America.

“Sakic will go out the way he came in–quietly, the epitome of class, with his legacy intact and his place in the Hall of Fame assured,” writes Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is quoted in The Denver Post as saying that Sakic will “go down as one of the best to ever play the game.” Gretzky’s right, just look at the stats: 20 seasons and 1,378 games (all with the same team), 625 goals and 1,641 points. Sakic’s point total puts him at eighth all time in the National Hockey League, and he had six seasons with at least 100 points. He holds nearly all the Avalanche’s offensive records (games played, goals, assists, points, power-play goals, short-handed goals, and game-winning goals).

He also led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup championships (1996 and 2001), and led the Canadian national team to the gold medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Although Sakic has called Denver home since the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver in 1995, he’s from Burnaby, B.C., near Vancouver. The Vancouver Sun, his hometown paper, calls him the “pride of Burnaby.”

That’s fair. He belongs to them after all. But a case can be made that Sakic is also the pride of Denver. We’ll miss you, Super Joe.