Francouz announces retirement


Pavel Francouz, better known to all of his fans as “Frankie,” has called it a career. Prior to joining the Colorado Eagles, Francouz played in Czechia leagues and spent three years in the KHL. He would make his NHL debut with the Colorado Avalanche on December 22, 2018, against the Arizona Coyotes.


For some in Northern Colorado, he is a legend. In his first year with the Eagles, Francouz helped lead the team to the playoffs. Frankie played 49 games in Loveland with a 27–17–4 record. The chants of “Frankie” would echo throughout the Budweiser Event Center after he made a great save.He played so well in his first year in North America that he earned himself the backup role in Denver the following season.

Playing behind Philipp Grubauer, Francouz saw almost equal time in the crease as a backup his first year. Surprisingly, Francouz would have a better goals allowed average than Grubauer.

Afterwards, the “Bubble” of Covid unfolded. Grubauer went down to injury, forcing Francouz to take the starting role. And the worst happened. The injured Czech was replaced by the third string goalie. The injury would keep Francouz out of action for several months. It took him nearly three months to return to action.

The 2020-21 season for Francouz turned into a complete loss. The injury he got in the bubble was diagnosed as a hip injury. It would require double hip surgery and missing the entire season.

Francouz would come back stronger, as he helped lead the Avalanche to a Stanley Cup Final and victory in 2022. With starting goalie Darcy Kuemper sidelined because of an eye injury, Francouz took over and excelled in the net for seven games. He would record a 6–0–0 record, which included one shutout in game two of the Western Conference Finals.

A lower-body injury in November 2023 would knock the goaltender out of competition for the entire season and the Avalanche would place him on long-term injured reserve. According to Ondrej Mach, Francouz had informed the club that he was going to retire during the summer.

What he is doing now

“All of a sudden I’m sitting here and I’m done,” Francouz told reporters. “It was fun, even if it was hard and complicated at times. Amazing times. I am grateful to ice hockey for the wonderful experiences,”

Despite all of his injuries, “Frankie” brought Denver so much joy in the summer of 2022. If it weren’t for him, the Avalanche may have never won the Cup. He gave his body for the Cup. Now he has daily knee problems from so many years of playing a game. He is still involved with the organization. Goalie scouting is something Francouz enjoys and wants to continue.


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