Saving Sakic (2024)

Saving Sakic Review

Saving Sakic (2024)

The movie begins with a narrated highlight reel of Joe Sakic’s time with the Colorado Avalanche.

At the two-minute mark, Charlie Lyons plops down in front of the camera.

“Well, that’s all fantastic,” says Lyons, leaning forward in his chair. “But it almost didn’t happen.”

The next 45 minutes of “Saving Sakic,” an NHL Productions original on hockey and, goes into how the former Avalanche captain and current executive nearly left Denver for New York in 1997 nearly leaving for the Rangers and how a week in August 1997, including some help from Harrison Ford, saved him.

“Saving Sakic” is available to Prime members in Canada starting Tuesday and will be on ESPN+ for U.S. subscribers starting April 17, directed by Jay Nelson with executive producers Steve Mayer (NHL), Ross Bernard (NHL) and Craig Axelrod (NHL) with Gary Cohen for Triple Threat TV.

It has commentary from Lyons, the former Avs chairman/CEO who was blindsided by the Rangers trying to sign Sakic away from Colorado.

They signed him to a three-year, $21 million offer sheet Aug. 7 that had $15 million up front. The Avs had seven days to match.

“I initially wasn’t that inclined to participate because when you go through something like that and everything that it entails there’s a tendency after it’s over just to go back to work and forget about it,” said Lyons. “In my mind close to 30 years had passed so your recollection is hazy; I just remember there was a lot of humor in all of it. At the end of the day — when you look at what goes on today nothing puts things into perspective like a little humor. When it made the turn toward becoming more light-hearted and not taking itself too seriously, then I was happy to become involved. And when I did become involved it really reignited my passion for sports.”

There’s Dave Checketts, the former Rangers executive who signed Sakic to an offer sheet in 1997 because he knew if a certain turn didn’t happen the Avs wouldn’t have the money to keep him and that New York needed a replacement for Mark Messier, who had left for Vancouver.

“It’s a story that from the New York side somebody needed to tell,” said Checketts. “I felt if we could somehow pry Joe Sakic away from the Avalanche and put him with our team, if we could get him we have a potential Stanley Cup champion on our hands. I just thought it was worth it and I felt that was the part of the story that needed to be told. History will say everything we did only enabled Charlie to put his franchise on solid ground because people in Denver just didn’t like being pushed around by New York.”

The movie showcases remarks from Sakic, Mark Kizsla, a Denver sports writer who bet Checketts that Sakic wouldn’t leave, former Denver mayor Wellington Webb, former Rangers general manager Neil Smith and yes, Ford the actor whose film “Air Force One” premiered on July 25, 1997, and gave the Avalanche enough money to match the offer sheet and keep Sakic.

“Boy this is a lot better than I thought it would be,” Ford says in the film.

Throughout the documentary there are clips of “Air Force One.” Ford and Lyons sit down together at the beginning and talk near the end about what kind of an impact it had on hockey in Denver.

Without it, Sakic would have been a Ranger. Instead he won his second Stanley Cup as a player in Denver in 2001. He won his third one with an executive title after building this team in 2022. The first came in ’96 when they were still housed east of here.

“I think it’s extremely well done and a very frank conversation between Charlie and I on each side of what we were thinking and what happened and the way the press reacted,” Checketts said. “I made Charlie really mad when I bet that Denver writer that we would get him dinner with Mark Kiszla. I probably took it too far there but I wouldn’t change anything.”

Watch Saving Sakic For Free On Gomovies.

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