Keeler: Avalanche star Nazem Kadri might’ve made excuses. He made historical past as an alternative. His Colorado family members couldn’t be prouder.


Before legends are etched in silver, they’re born in brimstone. You’ll inform your grandchildren about Nazem Kadri. Who will inform their grandchildren. And their grandchildren after that.

“There are always going to be critics. But you don’t let them bring you down,” Hifa Fayad texted Wednesday morning from the Middle East. “Rather, you rise above them and get the job done. And that is what Naz and the Avs did.”

Ten occasions, the Avalanche trailed in a Stanley Cup Playoff recreation. Ten occasions, they rallied again to win.

On a workforce that was too gifted to cease and too cussed to roll over, none amongst on the 2021-22 NHL champs embodied each beliefs greater than Kadri, who performed with a baby’s pleasure and a prophet’s function.

“In our religion we have a saying: ‘After hardship comes ease,’” Fayad, a relative of Kadri’s who teaches at Aurora’s Crescent View Academy, stated of the Avs, who’ll have fun the franchise’s first Cup title in 21 years Thursday with a parade via downtown Denver.

“(Naz) was tested. And he rose above and beyond to shine through it all. As the Avs fans say, ‘The Kadri Man Can.’ And he did.”

He countered hate with love, cynics with smiles and low-cost photographs with targets. He wore his coronary heart on his sleeve and his scars like gilded badges of honor.

Cast by the NHL cognoscenti as a hockey villain, Kadri flipped the script and the map. He took the excessive highway to glory, The Hero’s Journey to redemption, chased by ghosts at each flip.

Jordan Binnington. Blues followers. Evander Kane. A damaged thumb. His previous.

With one wholesome hand, Kadri managed to outskate the lot, to get his mitts across the Stanley Cup earlier than his demons might catch as much as him.

“It was heartbreaking, for sure,” Fayad stated, referring to racist threats in opposition to Kadri through the playoffs. “And as Nazem had talked about, this isn’t one thing new for him, sadly.

“But good at all times outweighs evil. And the help he acquired was indescribable.

“Nazem should be seen like all other great players. It takes years of sacrifice, practice and dedication to get where Naz is. He deserves this. This should be celebrated.”

Fayad — Kadri likes to name her “Aunt Hifa” — has been celebrating these previous couple of weeks from afar, watching the Cup Final earlier than the morning time whereas touring between Palestine and Jordan, often through her laptop computer or telephone.

Aunt Hifa credit Kadri with turning her right into a hockey fan, full-stop. Which is why she and her daughter have been up at 5:30 a.m. Monday on the household’s trip dwelling in Palestine, celebrating with family members as they livestreamed paradise, watching the Avs shut out the Cup Final over the Lightning in six video games.

“It’s been amazing and emotional. I’m so proud of his accomplishments,” Fayad stated. “The fans have been amazing! He has my support, the support of a large, caring family and an even larger amazing (Denver) hockey community.”

Naz digs it right here, Aunt Hifa says. He digs that it’s a family-oriented group. He digs the golf. He digs his teammates. But contemplating that he’s quickly to change into an unrestricted free agent at 31, coming off one of the best season of his profession, she additionally doesn’t wish to speculate on No. 91’s skilled future. Not whereas there’s extra celebrating to do.

“The first Muslim to have his name on the Cup!” Fayad stated. “I believe (this) will inspire young Muslims to pursue their dreams — the sky’s the limit. It means a lot to him and those who love him.”

We’ll at all times have Tampa. We’ll at all times have The Shot, the puck that caught to the again of the online with such power that it dethroned a king.

We’ll at all times have the hat trick in St. Louis, one of many biggest rebuttals in Cup lore.



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