The Colorado Avalanche are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver, Colorado, United States. They are members of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1996 and 2001. The franchise was founded in Quebec and were the Quebec Nordiques until moving to Colorado in 1995. The Avalanche have won eight division titles and went to the playoffs in each of their first 10 seasons in Denver, with the streak ending in 2007. The Avalanche are the only team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup their first season after a relocation, and only the second team to win a championship their first season after a relocation in any of the four major North American sports leagues, following the Washington Redskins of the NFL.
The Quebec Nordiques were not one of the World Hockey Association's (WHA) original teams when the league began play in 1972. Though first awarded to a group in San Francisco, the team quickly moved to Quebec City when the California deal soured because of financial and arena problems. During their seven WHA seasons, the Nordiques won the Avco World Trophy once, in 1977 and lost the finals once, in 1975. In 1979, the franchise entered the NHL, along with the WHA's Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, and Winnipeg Jets.
After making the postseason for seven consecutive years, from 1981 to 1987, the Nordiques became one of the worst teams in the league: from 1987–88 to 1991–92, the team finished last in their division every season and three times had the worst record of the league. As a result, the team earned three consecutive first overall draft picks, used to select Mats Sundin (1989), Owen Nolan (1990) and Eric Lindros (1991), even though Lindros had made it clear he did not wish to play for the Nordiques. Lindros did not wear the team's jersey for the press photographs, only holding it when it was presented to him and, on advice from his mother, he refused to sign a contract and began a holdout that lasted over a year. On June 30, 1992, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for five players, the rights to Swedish prospect Peter Forsberg, two first-round draft picks, and US$15 million. In hindsight, the Lindros trade is seen as one of the most one-sided deals in sports history, and a major foundation for the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise successes over the next decade. In the first season after the trade, 1992–93, the Nordiques reached the playoffs for the first time in six years. Two years later, they won the Northeast Division and had the second best regular season record of the league.
While the team experienced on-ice success, it struggled financially. Quebec City was the smallest market in the league and in 1995, team owner Marcel Aubut asked for a bailout from Quebec's provincial government as well as a new publicly funded arena. The bailout fell through and Aubut subsequently sold the team to a group of investors in Denver. In May 1995, the COMSAT Entertainment Group announced an agreement in principle to purchase the team. The deal became official on July 1, 1995, and 12,000 season tickets were sold in the 37 days after the announcement of the move to Denver. The franchise was presented as the Colorado Avalanche on August 10, 1995. They became the second NHL franchise to play in the city: the Colorado Rockies played in town from 1976 to 1982 after which they moved to New Jersey to become the Devils.
After buying the team, the COMSAT Entertainment Group organized its Denver sports franchises, the Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets, under a separate subsidiary, Ascent Entertainment Group Inc., which went public in 1995, with 80% of its stock bought by COMSAT and the other 20% to be available on NASDAQ.
The Colorado Avalanche played their first game in the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver on October 6, 1995 winning 3–2 against the Detroit Red Wings. Led by captain Joe Sakic, forward Peter Forsberg, and defenseman Adam Foote on the ice and Pierre Lacroix as the general manager and Marc Crawford as the head coach, the Avalanche got stronger when All-Star Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy joined the team. Feeling humiliated for being left in the net after having let in nine goals in 26 shots during a Canadiens game against the Red Wings, Roy joined the Avalanche on December 6, 1995, together with ex-Montreal captain Mike Keane in a trade for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. Roy would prove a pivotal addition for Colorado in the years to come.
The Avalanche finished the regular season with a 47–25–10 record for 104 points, won the Pacific Division and finished second in the Western Conference. Colorado progressed to the playoffs and won the series against the Vancouver Canucks, the Chicago Blackhawks and Presidents' Trophy winners Detroit Red Wings. In the Stanley Cup Final, the Avalanche met the Florida Panthers, who were also in their first Stanley Cup final. The Avalanche swept the series 4–0. In Game Four, during the third overtime and after more than 100 minutes of play with no goals, defenseman Uwe Krupp scored to claim the franchise's first Cup. Joe Sakic was the playoff's scoring leader with 34 points (18 goals and 16 assists) and won the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player to his team during the playoffs. The 1996 Stanley Cup was the first major professional championship won by a Denver team. They also became the second team from the WHA to win the cup. With the Stanley Cup win, Russians Alexei Gusarov and Valeri Kamensky and Swede Peter Forsberg became members of the Triple Gold Club, the exclusive group of ice hockey players who have won Olympic gold, World Championship gold, and the Stanley Cup.
In 1996–97, Colorado won, not only their Pacific Division, but the Presidents' Trophy as well for finishing the regular season with the best record of the entire league: 49–24–9 for 107 points. The team was also the league's best scoring with an average of 3.38 goals scored per game. The Avalanche met the two lowest seeds of the Western Conference in the first two rounds of the playoffs: the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers, who were beaten 4–2 and 4–1. During a rematch of the previous year Conference Final, the Avalanche lost against the Detroit Red Wings in a 4–2 series. The Red Wings went on to sweep the Stanley Cup final just as Colorado had done the year before. Sandis Ozolinsh was elected for the league's first all-star team at the end of the season.
In 1997, financial problems led to the selling of the Ascent Entertainment by COMSAT to the AT&T's Liberty Media Group for $755 million. Liberty put its sports assets immediately for sale.
As a free agent during the summer of 1997, Joe Sakic signed a three year, $21 million offer sheet with the New York Rangers. Under the collective bargaining agreement at the time, the Avalanche had one week to match the Rangers' offer or let go of Sakic. Colorado would match the offer, which instigated a salary raise for NHL players.
In the following season, Colorado won the Pacific Division with a 39–26–17 record for 95 points. The Avalanche sent the largest delegation of the NHL to the 1998 Winter Olympics ice hockey tournament in Nagano, Japan: 10 players representing seven countries and coach Marc Crawford for Canada. Milan Hejduk won the Gold Medal for Czech Republic, Alexei Gusarov and Valeri Kamensky got the Silver Medal for Russia and Jari Kurri won the Bronze Medal for Finland. Colorado lost in their first playoff round against the Edmonton Oilers in a seven game series, after having led the series 3–1. Peter Forsberg was the league's second highest scorer in the regular season with 91 points (25 goals and 66 assists) and was elected for the league's first all star team. After the end of the season, head coach Marc Crawford rejected the team's offer of a two-year deal. Bob Hartley was hired to the head coach position in June 1998.
In 1998–99, with the addition of the Nashville Predators to the league, the NHL realigned their divisions and the Colorado Avalanche were put in the new Northwest Division. Despite a slow 2–6–1 start, Colorado finished with a 44–28–10 record for 98 points, won the Northwest Division and finished second in the Western Conference. Between January 10 and February 7, the Avalanche had their longest winning streak ever with 12 games. After beating the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings in the first two rounds, Colorado met Presidents' Trophy winners Dallas Stars in the Conference Final, where they lost after a seven game series. Peter Forsberg, the playoffs leading scorer with 24 points (8 goals and 16 assists), was again elected to the league's first all-star team and Chris Drury won the Calder Memorial Trophy for the best rookie of the season. Together with Milan Hejduk, both were elected for the NHL All-Rookie Team at the end of the season.
It was in the 1999–2000 season that the Colorado Avalanche played their first game in the new Pepsi Center, that cost 160 million US dollars. Milan Hejduk scored the first goal of a 2–1 victory against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 1999. The Avalanche finished the season with a 42–28–11–1 record for 96 points and won the Northwest Division. Before the playoffs, the Avalanche strengthened their defense for a run towards the Stanley Cup. On March 6, 2000, the Boston Bruins traded future Hockey Hall of Famer defenseman Ray Bourque and forward Dave Andreychuk to Colorado for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson, and a first-round draft pick. Bourque, who had been a Bruin since 1979, requested a trade to a contender for one last shot at a Stanley Cup. However, and just as the year before, Colorado lost in the Conference Final against the Dallas Stars in a seven game series after beating both the Phoenix Coyotes and the Detroit Red Wings in 4–1 series.
In July 2000, after years of intrigue and several failed negotiations, the Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets and Pepsi Center were finally bought by business entrepreneur and Wal-Mart heir Stan Kroenke in a $450 million deal. Liberty retained only 6.5% stake of the sports franchises. The deal included a guarantee to the city of Denver that the teams would not be relocated for at least 25 years. After the deal, Kroenke organized his sports assets under Kroenke Sports Enterprises.
The 2000–01 season was the best season the team has ever had. The Avalanche won the Northwest Division and captured their second Presidents' Trophy after having finished the regular season with 52–16–10–4 for 118 points. Joe Sakic finished the regular season with 118 points (54 goals and 64 assists), only three behind Jaromir Jagr's 121 points. On February 4, 2001, the Colorado Avalanche hosted the 51st NHL All-Star Game. Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque and Joe Sakic played for the North America team, who won 14–12 against the World team, that featured Milan Hejduk and Peter Forsberg. All but Hejduk were part of the starting lineups. Before the playoffs, the Avalanche acquired star defenseman Rob Blake and center Steven Reinprecht from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller and their first-round 2001 Draft pick. In the playoffs, Colorado swept their Conference Quarterfinal against the Vancouver Canucks. In the Conference Semifinal, the Avalanche defeated the Los Angeles Kings in a seven game series, after having wasted a 3–1 lead. After the last game of the series, Peter Forsberg underwent surgery to remove a ruptured spleen and it was announced that he would not play until the following season. The injury was a huge upset for the team; former NHL goaltender Darren Pang considered it "devastating (...) to the Colorado Avalanche". The team would overcome Forsberg's injury: in the Conference Final, Colorado beat the St. Louis Blues four games to one in the series and progressed to the Stanley Cup Final, where they faced the New Jersey Devils, the Stanley Cup holders. The Avalanche won the series 4–3, after winning the last game at Pepsi Center 3–1, marking the second year in a row that defending champions lost in the finals, as the Devils themselves defeated the Dallas Stars the year before. After being handed the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, captain Joe Sakic immediately turned, and gave it to Ray Bourque, capping off Bourque's 22-year career with his only championship. Joe Sakic was the playoffs leading scorer with 26 points (13 goals and 13 assists). He won the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the league's most valuable player during the regular season, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player that has shown the best sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with performance in play, the Lester B. Pearson Award and shared the NHL Plus/Minus Award with Patrik Elias of the Devils. Patrick Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the playoffs' most valuable player. Shjon Podein was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for significant humanitarian contributions to his community, namely his work on charitable organizations and his own children's foundation. Ray Bourque and Joe Sakic were elected to the league's first all-star team; Rob Blake was elected to the second all-star team.
In the 2001–02 season, the team finished the regular season with 99 points of a 45–28–8–1 record and won the Northwest Division. Colorado had the league's lowest goals conceded: 169, which makes an average of 2.06 per game. The NHL season was interrupted once again for the 2002 Winter Olympics, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Colorado Avalanche had nine players representing six countries. Canada won the ice hockey tournament and Rob Blake, Adam Foote and Joe Sakic won Gold medals. American Chris Drury got a silver medal. With the win, Blake and Sakic became members of the Triple Gold Club. The Avalanche advanced through the first two rounds of the playoffs winning a 4–3 series against the Los Angeles Kings and a 4–3 series against the San Jose Sharks. Patrick Roy had a shutout on the decisive game of each series. The Avalanche made the Western Conference Finals for the fourth consecutive season (and sixth overall in the last seven seasons). There Colorado met the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs for the fifth time in seven years. In a seven game series, Colorado had a 3–2 lead after five games, but lost game six at home 2–0 and then the Red Wings won the deciding game at Detroit 7–0. As in 1997, Detroit went on to win the Stanley Cup. Peter Forsberg was the playoffs scoring leader with 27 points (9 goals, 18 assists). Patrick Roy won the William M. Jennings Trophy, given to the goaltenders of the team with fewest goals scored against. Roy was elected for the league's first all-star team, together with Joe Sakic; Rob Blake was elected for the second all-star team.
The following season, 2002–03, saw the Avalanche claim the NHL record for most consecutive division titles, nine, breaking the Montreal Canadiens streak of eight, won between 1974 and 1982. The division title came after a bad start by the team, that led to the exit of head coach Bob Hartley, in December. General Manager Pierre Lacroix promoted assistant coach Tony Granato, who had only three months of coaching experience as an assistant, to the head coach position. The team's playoff spot seemed in doubt, at one point, but the Avalanche managed to finish with 105 points, ahead of the division rivals Vancouver Canucks by one. The race to the title was exciting, namely the second-to-last game of the season, as the Avalanche needed to win the game to stay in the race, and Milan Hejduk scored with 10 seconds left in overtime to beat Anaheim. The title was guaranteed in the final day of the regular season, when the Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues 5–2 and the Vancouver Canucks lost against the Los Angeles Kings 2–0. In the playoffs, the Avalanche blew a 3–1 series lead over the Minnesota Wild, and lost in overtime of game seven to be eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. Peter Forsberg won the Art Ross Trophy for the leading scorer of the regular season, which he finished with 106 points (29 goals, 77 assists). Forsberg also won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the regular season's most valuable player and shared the NHL Plus/Minus Award with teammate Milan Hejduk. Hejduk scored 50 goals to win the Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy for the best goalscorer of the regular season. Forsberg was elected to the league's first all-star team; Hejduk was elected to the second all-star team.
After that season, Patrick Roy retired and the Avalanche signed star wingers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Both failed to live up to the expectations: Kariya spent most of the 2003–04 season injured and Selanne scored only 32 points (16 goals and 16 assists) in 78 games. There were doubts if goalie David Aebischer could perform at the top level the team was used to while having Roy. Having "nine elite players", "the most talented top six forwards on one team since the days of the Edmonton Oilers" was not good enough as the franchise failed to win the Northwest division title, ending the NHL record streak. The 40–22–13–7 record was good enough for 100 points, one less than the Northwest division winners Vancouver Canucks.
During a game against the Canucks on March 8, 2004, Canucks player Todd Bertuzzi punched Colorado's Steve Moore from behind, said to be as a retaliation for a hit Moore had delivered to Canucks captain Markus Naslund the month before, leaving Moore unconscious. Because of the punch and the consequent fall on the ice with Bertuzzi on top of him, and numerous other players from both teams piling on top, Moore sustained three fractured neck vertebrae, among other injuries, that ended his career. Bertuzzi was away from professional hockey for 17 months as a result of suspensions. In Denver, ever since the Moore hit, it has become tradition for the home fans to "boo" Todd Bertuzzi every time he gains possession of the puck, whenever his team faces the Avalanche at Pepsi Center. A tradition that still stands to this day, as can be heard on televised broadcasts of games.
In the playoffs, Colorado won the Conference Quarterfinal against the Dallas Stars in a five game series, but lost in the Semifinal against the San Jose Sharks in a six game series. Joe Sakic became the only Avalanche player ever to be chosen as the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player during the 2004 NHL All-Star Game, when he scored a hat-trick. Sakic was elected for the league's first all-star team at the end of the season and won the NHL/Sheraton Road Performer Award. After the end of the season, on July 2004, Joel Quenneville was hired for the position of head coach, replacing Tony Granato, who became his assistant.
The 2004–05 NHL season was canceled because of an unresolved lockout. During the lockout, many Avalanche players played in European leagues. David Aebischer returned home with Alex Tanguay to play for Swiss club HC Lugano; Milan Hejduk and Peter Forsberg returned to their former teams in their native countries, HC Pardubice and Modo Hockey. Other nine players of the Avalanche 2003–04 roster played in Europe during the lockout.
After the 2004–05 NHL lockout and the implementation of a salary cap, the Avalanche were forced to let go some of their top players. Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote were lost to free agency to save room in the cap for Joe Sakic and Rob Blake. Although the salary cap was a blow to one of the highest spenders of the league, the Colorado Avalanche finished the 2005–06 regular season with a 43–30–9 record for 95 points, good enough to finish second in the Northwest division, seven behind the Calgary Flames and tied with the Edmonton Oilers. The league stopped in February for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. The Avalanche sent an NHL leading 11 players from eight countries. Finnish Antti Laaksonen got the silver medal, while Ossi Vaananen ended up not playing because of an injury; Czech Milan Hejduk won a bronze medal. In the NHL playoffs, Colorado beat the team with the second best record in the Western Conference, the Dallas Stars, in a five game series. In the Conference Semifinals, the Avalanche were swept for the first time ever, by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The day after the loss, Pierre Lacroix, who had been the General Manager of the franchise since 1994 when they were in Quebec, resigned and Francois Giguere was hired. Lacroix remains to this day as President of the franchise.
By the beginning of the 2006–07 season Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk were the only two remaining members from the 2001 Stanley Cup winning squad. Joe Sakic is the only player left from the team's days in Quebec (though Hejduk was drafted by the Nordiques), but Paul Stastny, son of Nordiques legend Peter Stastny, also provides a link to the past. Before the previous season playoffs, in a move reminiscent of Patrick Roy's trade, the Avalanche had sent goalie David Aebischer for Montreal Canadiens' Vezina Trophy winner goalie Jose Theodore. The move would not turn out to be as successful. Theodore posted a 13–15–1 record in 2006-07, with an 89.1 save percentage and 3.26 goals average and his six million US dollars salary became a heavy burden for the Avalanche in the salary cap era. The Avalanche missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993–94, when they were still in Quebec. The team had a 15–2–2 run in the last 19 games of the season to keep their playoffs hopes alive until the penultimate day of the season. A 4–2 loss against the Nashville Predators on April 7, with Peter Forsberg assisting the game winning goal scored by Paul Kariya, knocked Colorado out of the playoff race. The team won the last game of the season against the Calgary Flames on the following day and finished fourth in the Northwest Division and ninth in the Western Conference with a 44–31–7 record for 95 points, one less than eighth-seeded Calgary. Still, the result was better than expected by hockey pundits: Sports Illustrated previewed before the start of the season that the Avalanche would finish 13th in the Western Conference. During that last game of the season, Joe Sakic scored a goal and two assists and became the second-oldest player in NHL history to reach 100 points, behind only Gordie Howe, who had 103 points at age 40 in the 1968–69 season. During the season, Paul Stastny set an NHL record for longest point streak by a rookie, with 20 games, three more than the previous record, held by Teemu Selanne and Karlis Skrastins set a new NHL record for the longest game streak by a defenseman, with 495 games. Until the Avalanche's 2006–2007 season, no team in the history of the NHL had ever made it to 95 points without earning a spot in the playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, three teams progressed to the playoffs with fewer than 95 points: the New York Rangers (94), the Tampa Bay Lightning (93), and the New York Islanders (92).
For the 2007–08 season, the Avalanche signed two free agents: Defenseman Scott Hannan and left winger Ryan Smyth. These acquisitions filled the team's needs and were expected to help make an impact in the playoffs. With a 9 to 5 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, December 9, 2007 the Colorado Avalanche gained their 1,000th franchise victory. On February 25, 2008, unrestricted free agent Peter Forsberg signed with the Avalanche for the remainder of the 2007–08 season. A day later, at the trade deadline, they re-acquired popular defenseman Adam Foote from the Columbus Blue Jackets as well as Ruslan Salei from the Florida Panthers. In the first round of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 4 games to 2. In the second round the Avalanche lost the series 4 games to none to the eventual 2008 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
On May 9, 2008, the Colorado Avalanche Organization announced that Joel Quenneville will not return to coach the team next season. On May 22, 2008, Tony Granato was named head coach. On July 9, 2008, Dave Barr was named assistant coach.
The 2008–09 season was the worst season the Colorado Avalanche have seen so far. Posting up a record of 32-45-5, finishing 15th in the Western Conference (28th overall), and recording the fewest amount of points since their days in Quebec with 69. The Avs missed the post season for only the second time since moving to Denver, the second time in three seasons. It would be the first time in Avalanche history the team's top scorer would score less than 70 points on the season, let alone less than 60, as Milan Hejduk and Ryan Smyth would register only 59 points each. Captain Joe Sakic played a career low 15 games, good for two goals and ten assists. The team's 199 goals was a league low. On April 13, 2009, just one day after the end of the season, the Avs relieve Francois Giguere of his general manager duties. Colorado will go on to receive the highest draft pick in Avalanche history, third overall. That pick turned out to be Brampton Battalion star Matt Duchene.
On June 3, 2009, the Avalanche relieved head coach Tony Granato, assistant coaches Jacques Cloutier and Dave Barr, goaltending coach Jeff Hackett, Assistant to the General Manager Michel Goulet and video coordinator P. J. DeLuca of their respective duties. Greg Sherman was named the new General Manager with former Avalanche goaltender Craig Billington being named Vice President of Hockey Operations/Assistant General Manager. The following day, Joe Sacco was named head coach. Sacco was the head coach of the Avalanche's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, as well as the assistant coach of Team USA at the 2009 IIHF World Championship. Former Avs were then brought in to fill the rest of the coaching positions. Sylvain Lefebvre and Steve Konowalchuk became assistant coaches, and Adam Deadmarsh was named the new video/developmental coach. On July 1, 2009, the Avs signed goalie Craig Anderson from the Florida Panthers, who will get the opportunity to be a starting goalie for the first time in his career. They also signed enforcer David Koci from the Tampa Bay Lightning. They did however, lose fan-favorite and alternate captain Ian Laperriere who signed a 3-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. On July 3, 2009, one of Colorado's top scorers, Ryan Smyth was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for defensemen Tom Preissing and Kyle Quincey. Smyth had three years remaining of a five year NTC contract with the Avalanche at the time of the trade. On July 9, 2009, Joe Sakic, the only team captain the Avs have ever known, retired after 20 seasons in the NHL. On September 11, 2009, the Avs named Adam Foote the second captain in the team's history since moving to Denver.
Sakic's jersey retirement ceremony took place on October 1, 2009, before the season opener at home against the San Jose Sharks in front of a sold out crowd where the Avalanche won 5-2. His #19 now hangs next to Ray Bourque's #77 and Patrick Roy's #33 over the ice at Pepsi Center. The Colorado Avalanche began the season starting the youngest center line in their history, with two 18-year-olds (Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly), 21-year-old T. J. Galiardi, and 23-year-old Paul Stastny.
In 1996, the Colorado Avalanche met the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals and won the series 4–2. During game six, as Red Wings player Kris Draper was skating toward the bench, he was checked into the boards face-first by Avalanche player Claude Lemieux. As a result, Draper had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery, and had to have his jaw wired shut for five weeks. After the incident, Lemieux received many threats from Red Wings players and fans, including goalie Chris Osgood. The incident marked the beginning of a rivalry often considered one of the most intense in the NHL by the press and fans.
In the following season, in the last regular season meeting between the Avalanche and the Red Wings on March 26, 1997, a brawl known as Brawl in Hockeytown broke out. The game ended with nine fights, 11 goals, 39 penalties, 148 penalty minutes, one hat-trick (by Valeri Kamensky) and a goalie fight between Stanley Cup champion goalies Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon. Claude Lemieux was one of the players singled out by the Red Wings players. The Red Wings ended up winning the game in overtime 6–5. The teams met again in the Conference Finals that season, with the Red Wings emerging victorious, and going on to win the Stanley Cup.
The rivalry between the Avalanche and the Red Wings was most intense from 1996 to 2002. During those seven seasons the two teams played five post-season series against each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs, with the Avalanche winning three of the series and the Red Wings winning two of them. During this timeframe these two teams combined for a total of five Stanley Cup championships in seven years, the Avalanche winning twice (1996 and 2001) and the Red Wings winning three times (1997, 1998, and 2002). After 2002 the rivalry between the two teams began to cool; it would be another six years before the Avalanche and the Red Wings would meet again in post-season play.
The Colorado Avalanche have the NHL record for the longest consecutive attendance sell outs with 487. The streak began on November 9, 1995, on the Avalanche's eighth regular season home game during the 1995–96 season, with an attendance of 16,061 at the McNichols Sports Arena versus the Dallas Stars. Almost 11 years later, it ended on October 16, 2006, after a reported attendance of 17,681, which is 326 under capacity at Pepsi Center, before a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Avalanche recorded their 500th home sellout in their 515th game in Denver on January 20, 2007, against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Colorado Avalanche logo is composed by a burgundy letter A with snow wrapped around, similar to an avalanche. There is a hockey puck in the lower–right end of the snow and a blue oval on the background.
The team's alternate logo is the foot of a Yeti and can be seen on the shoulders of the Avalanche's home and away jerseys. The Logo has been used on their jerseys since 1995. In 1997, a Yeti character named Howler was introduced as the team's mascot, but has since been replaced by a St. Bernard named Bernie.
The team colors are burgundy, steel blue, black, silver, and white. For the 2007–08 season, the NHL has introduced new-look Rbk EDGE jerseys. The Avalanche debuted their new version of the Rbk EDGE jerseys on September 12, 2007 at an Avalanche press conference. The design is similar to the previous jerseys, with some added striping.
The road jersey from 1995–2003, which became the team's home jersey in 2003 when the NHL decided to switch home and road jerseys, is predominantly burgundy and dark blue in color. Along the jersey, there are two black and white zigzag lines, one in the shoulders, the other near the belly. Between them, the jersey is burgundy, outside those lines it is dark blue. Similar lines exist around the neck. The Avalanche logo is in the center of the jersey. On top of the shoulders, there is the alternate logo, one on each side. The away jersey is similar but with different colors. The burgundy part on the home jersey is white on the away jersey, the light blue part is burgundy and the black and white lines became gray and blue.
The Avalanche introduced a third jersey during the 2001–02 season. It is predominantly burgundy. "Colorado" is spelled in a diagonal across the jersey where the logo is on the other jerseys. From the belly down, three large horizontal stripes, the first and the last being black and the middle one being white. In the middle of the arms, there are five stripes, black, white and burgundy from the outside inside in both sides. On the shoulders is the primary "A" logo. The third jersey was not worn by the Avalanche for the 2007–08 or the 2008–09 seasons after the NHL switched to the Reebok Edge jerseys. The Avalanche introduced a new third jersey that was worn for the first time during the November 14th home game against the Vancouver Canucks. It is similar to the club's previous third jersey, but is primarily blue instead of burgundy and features burgundy patches on the shoulders with the "A" logo inside. It also does not have horizontal striping on the bottom. On the arms, there are five stripes, burgundy, white and black from the outside inside in both sides. They are closer to the elbows than the stripes on the previous third jerseys.
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Avalanche. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Colorado Avalanche seasons
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Records as of April 15, 2009.
|2004–05||Season cancelled due to 2004–05 NHL Lockout|
|2005–061||82||43||30||—||9||95||283||257||1130||2nd, Northwest||Lost in Conference Semifinals, 0–4 (Mighty Ducks)|
|2006–07||82||44||31||—||7||95||272||251||864||4th, Northwest||Did not qualify|
|2007–08||82||44||31||—||7||95||231||219||973||2nd, Northwest||Lost in Conference Semifinals, 0–4 (Red Wings)|
|2008–09||82||32||45||—||5||69||199||257||1044||5th, Northwest||Did not qualify|
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise (Colorado and Quebec) history, as of the end of the 2008–09 season. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Legend: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Avalanche player
Updated March 12, 2010.
|41||Craig Anderson||G||L||28||2009||Park Ridge, Illinois|
|31||Peter Budaj||G||L||27||2001||Banská Bystrica, Czechoslovakia|
|5||Brett Clark||D||L||33||2002||Wapella, Saskatchewan|
|10||Kyle Cumiskey||D||L||23||2006||Abbotsford, British Columbia|
|9||Matt Duchene||C||L||19||2009||Haliburton, Ontario|
|45||Chris Durno||LW||L||29||2008||Scarborough, Ontario|
|52||Adam Foote (C)||D||R||38||2008||Whitby, Ontario|
|39||T. J. Galiardi||LW||R||21||2007||Calgary, Alberta|
|22||Scott Hannan||D||L||31||2007||Richmond, British Columbia|
|23||Milan Hejduk (A)||RW||R||34||1994||Ústí nad Labem, Czechoslovakia|
|15||Matt Hendricks||C||L||28||2008||Blaine, Minnesota|
|54||David Jones||RW||R||25||2003||Guelph, Ontario|
|28||David Koci||LW||L||28||2009||Prague, Czechoslovakia|
|4||John-Michael Liles||D||L||29||2000||Zionsville, Indiana|
|55||Cody McLeod||LW||L||25||2007||Binscarth, Manitoba|
|88||Peter Mueller||C||R||21||2010||Bloomington, Minnesota|
|37||Ryan O'Reilly||C||L||19||2009||Clinton, Ontario|
|32||Kevin Porter||C||L||24||2010||Detroit, Michigan|
|27||Kyle Quincey||D||L||24||2009||Kitchener, Ontario|
|24||Ruslan Salei||D||L||35||2008||Minsk, Soviet Union|
|26||Paul Stastny (A)||C||L||24||2005||Quebec City, Quebec|
|25||Chris Stewart||RW||R||22||2006||Toronto, Ontario|
|40||Marek Svatos||RW||R||27||2001||Košice, Czechoslovakia|
|16||Darcy Tucker||RW||L||35||2008||Castor, Alberta|
|44||Ryan Wilson||D||L||23||2009||Windsor, Ontario|
|18||Stephane Yelle||C||L||35||2010||Ottawa, Ontario|
|59||Brandon Yip||RW||R||24||2004||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Players with most games for the Colorado Avalanche|
As of the end of the 2008–09 NHL season — Regular Season data
The numbers retired when the franchise was in Quebec - J. C. Tremblay's #3, Marc Tardif's #8, Michel Goulet's #16 and Peter Stastny's #26 - were entered back into circulation after the move to Colorado. Peter Statsny's #26 is currently being worn by his son Paul.
Hall of Famers: Ray Bourque played in the NHL for 22 seasons with the Boston Bruins and was traded, by his request, to Colorado in 2000 so he could have a chance of winning the Stanley Cup before retiring. After falling in the Western Conference Finals in 2000, Bourque signed with the Avs for a second season. In a feat termed Mission 16W, the Avs were able to win the Stanley Cup in June 2001, thus allowing Bourque the championship he had been seeking for 23 seasons.
Patrick Roy played from 1995 to 2003 in Colorado and won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche. Roy retired with the most wins by a goaltender in NHL history with 551, though he has since been passed by Martin Brodeur.
Both Bourque and Roy were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The only other Avalanche player to be inducted is Jari Kurri who played the last season of his career with the franchise, yet his number hasn't been retired by the team, and his jersey does not hang from the rafters at Pepsi Center.
Template:2009–10 NHL Northwest Division standings
GP - Games Played W - Wins L - Losses OTL - OT/Shootout Losses GF - Goals For GA - Goals Against PTS - Points
* - Division Leader x - Clinched Playoff spot y - Clinched Division z - Clinched Conference p - Clinched Presidents' Trophy e - Eliminated from Playoff Contention Template:2009–10 NHL Western Conference Quarter-finals bracket 1