Adam Foote retired in 2011, but the former Avalanche defenseman – a Colorado Sports Hall of Fame inductee — and his family decided to continue to live in the Denver area.
“We love it here,” Foote said, including his wife, Jennifer, and sons Cal and Nolan. “The kids were born here and I’ve spent most of my adult life here. My wife too. It’s just a great place to live.”
In retirement, he is spending much of his time — more than he could have envisioned, in fact — coaching in the Colorado Thunderbirds youth hockey program.
Foote played hockey and lacrosse when he was growing up in Whitby, Ontario, roughly 35 miles northeast of downtown Toronto. His parents, Vern, a Toronto police officer, and Linda set standards and challenged their children to live up to them. Foote has two sisters — his twin, Kelly, and Robin, a year older.
“It wasn’t fun when my buddies were staying out late at night, because I couldn’t,” Foote said. “With what policemen see and what they’re aware of, (my dad) was probably more protective and worried about his teenagers. What he taught was accountability and discipline.”
At 17, Foote joined major junior’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.
After the first of his three seasons with the Greyhounds, the Quebec Nordiques claimed him in the second round of the 1989 draft.
Foote started the 1991-92 season with Halifax of the American Hockey League but joined the Nordiques in mid-October. They were coming off a terrible 46-point season, would get only 52 in his rookie season, and had a young fourth-year center named Joe Sakic.
“I don’t think I recognized what a struggle it was,” Foote said. “I was just trying to get in the league and stay in the league.”
In major junior, he averaged more than 130 penalty minutes a season, so his game was far from passive, but he also had 50 points in his final two seasons with the Greyhounds. When he joined the NHL, though, he realized the way to stick would be to concentrate on the defensive end of the ice.
When the Nordiques moved to Denver in 1995, Foote was entrenched as a “shutdown” defenseman. During the franchise’s glory years, including the two Stanley Cup victories, Foote remained the physical force in the defensive end, becoming friends with – and the road roommate of – goalie Patrick Roy. He did the heavy lifting, the grunt work, playing physical hockey in the pairing often working against the opposition’s top line. Most notably, perhaps, he was Ray Bourque’s partner in the 2001 championship run.
“You’d go to the rink every day and know the opportunity was there to win the Cup,” Foote said of the glory years. “It was a great time.”
Then came the NHL lockout and the forced paring of payroll that led to him signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets as an unrestricted free agent in 2005. He returned to the Avalanche in a 2008 trade and after Joe Sakic’s retirement, served as Colorado’s captain in his final season.
I considered myself more of an offensive defenseman, I think it’s fun to score goals.