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Avalanche Captain Adam Foote Announces Retirement From Hockey

Though the news isn't surprising for fans who have followed the Colorado Avalanche this season, it's still a somber moment as defenseman Adam Foote -- one of the true greats to ever don the burgundy and blue sweater -- has announced that he will retire from hockey at the end of this season.

With longtime teammate Peter Forsberg officially retiring earlier this year, Foote was the last active member of the original 1996 Stanley Cup team.

Foote, known earlier in his career as a shutdown defenseman and lockdown physical presence at the blue line, ahd morphed into a gritty warrior and team leader, the emotional barometer for the Avalanche. He played 20 seasons in the NHL, and all but 114 of his career 1153 games played were with Colorado. (Foote had almost two seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, before being traded back to Colorado in 2007.) Foote will retire second on the Avalanche leader board in games played with the franchise, behind Joe Sakic.

Foote's final season has not gone as planned, as he has suffered a multitude of leg and ankle injuries that have kept him sidelined. Though it's still possible that he could play this weekend -- one last time in front of the home crowd at Pepsi Center, perhaps? -- his ankle may not allow him to skate before his retirement becomes official.

Adam Foote has always been the heart and soul of his team. The captain leaves an enormous hole in the locker room that can hopefully be filled by the new crop of budding stars such as Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, and his spiritual successor Erik Johnson.

The press conference has been scheduled for Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. MDT.