Avalanche appear in first Outdoor Game


Doug Pensinger

By: Brendan Jordan

It was a great moment when the NHL announced in 2015 that the Colorado Avalanche would be hosting their own Stadium Series game at Coors Field.

The opponents weren’t announced at the time, but it was said that Colorado and Minnesota would have their own Stadium Series game.

The Minnesota Wild played their Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 21st. The Wild came out with some fire and ended up beating the big bad Blackhawks by a score of 6-1. A day prior to the Stadium Series game, the WIld and Blackhawks alumni teams got together to play an Alumni game. This game featured players such as Jack O’Callahan (who was also a part of the 1980 US Olympic Ice Hockey team the completed the “Miracle on Ice,”) Jeremy Roenick, Dino Ciccarelli, and Mike Modano. The Minnesota alumni team beat Chicago’s by a score of 6-4

The weekend of Feb. 27th was when the Colorado Avalanche faced off against their long time rivals, the Detroit Red Wings.

The alumni game took place on Friday Feb. 26th. This game was much anticipated all around the league. Mainly because the two teams playing were arguably the biggest rivals in the National Hockey League from 1995 to 2001. Within those six years, The Stanley Cup was awarded to one of those two teams five times. The Red Wings took home the cup in the 1996-97, 1997-98, and 2001-02 seasons. The Avalanche took their two championships home in the 1995-96 and 2000-01 seasons.

The Alumni game was one to tune into no matter what the final score was. The old school Red Wings playing the old school Avalanche? C’mon, no way any hockey fan could miss out on that.

The Avalanche alumni featured players such as Patrick Roy in goal, Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic on offense, and last but certainly not least Ray Bourque and Rob Blake on defense. The Red Wings featured guys such as Ty Conklin in goal, Steve Yzerman and Igor Larionov on offense, and Nicklas Lidstrom on defense.

The alumni game was a great one to be able to see in person. No, they didn’t drop the gloves and have another bench clearing fight. But the Avs alumni came out and dominated the Wings alumni by a score of 5-2.

On to the game that actually counts in the standings, The Stadium Series game. This was very anticipated by fans all around the world because of many reasons. Those reasons mainly being the use of the new jerseys, young players playing outdoors, and seeing two teams re-spark their old rivalry.

The Stadium Series game took place on Feb. 27th at Coors Field. The Avs had many guys playing in their first outdoor games, but some that have played in one before. Players such as forwards Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, and John Mitchell. Also in that boat was veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who had played in a Stadium Series game with the Anaheim Ducks the season before.

The Avalanche came out and dominated the first period, having forward Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Tyson Barrie scoring two gorgeous goals to take the lead 2-1 into the locker room. The second period was very slow and had no goals in it, but the third period was the turning point in the game.

In the third period of the game, the Red Wings took control and stole the game away from the Avalanche. They had an early goal to tie it up 2-2, the took the lead 3-2 with about 14 minutes left in the game. It only took Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay (who was traded two days after the game to the Arizona Coyotes) 14 seconds after Detroit’s third to tie the game up at three.

The spear to the heart of Avs players and fans happened at the one-minute mark of the third period. Detroit’s Brad Richards took a shot on Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov that hit him, went into the air, and rolled into the back of the net. There was nothing that Varlamov or any of the other Avalanche players could’ve done in that situation.

The Avalanche pulled their goalie for an extra attacker to try and get the tying goal. Instead, Detroit came down into the Avalanche end and scored an empty net goal, sealing a 5-3 victory.

Although Detroit came out of the locker room and took control of the game in the third period, it was such a great experience for fans and players to be a part of an outdoor hockey game. The scenery was amazing, bands played great, and the hockey games were nail-biters to watch. Hopefully, the Avalanche will be able to host another outdoor game in the near future.