Farewell, Nazem Kadri. You wrote yourself forever into book of Avs legends. Even if last chapter broke our hearts.


Adrienne Ruth told herself she wouldn’t cry. She lied.

“If he had come back and not had the same year, or had the same presence, it kind of sours the story,” Ruth, a longtime Avs fan and Nazem Kadri family confidant, told me Thursday after word got out that the Avs’ Stanley Cup hero/provocateur had signed a seven-year contract with the Calgary Flames.

“So in a way, I’m kind of glad the story ends where it ended. Because I think, for him, it was the perfect way to end.”

With a smile. With Lord Stanley in his hands, hoisted to the heavens. With a parade.

Speaking of the parade, you know those T-shirts? The ones that said “Too Many Men” that Naz and his family debuted at the victory parade a few weeks back?

At last count, sales for that bad boy had raised almost $66,000 for charity, with shirt sale proceeds going to The Nazem Kadri Foundation. When’s the last time a gold-medal troll job — hockey assist to Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, whose baseless complaints after Kadri’s Game 4 winner in the Cup Finals inspired the design — did that much good?

“(Kadri) said, ‘I don’t want a penny,’” said Ruth, who put the aforementioned shirts together based on Kadri’s design notes. “That’s the flip side that people don’t see with Naz.

“He can poke the bear, but he also has a kind and generous personality as well. There’s a human being there who really cares about making a change in sports and in the world.”

We’ll always have St. Louis. We’ll always have Jordan Binnington. The water bottle. The lunacy. We’ll always have the greatest on-ice rebuttal in modern Stanley Cup history. Forever.

Like the heel in a pro wrestling ring, Naz always seemed to be at his best, always seemed to kick it up a notch, whenever the hate was raining down from above. By the time Blues, Oilers and Lightning fans had figured that last part out, it was too late. He’d already won.


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