Denver has always been a Broncos town. It has been that way, currently is that way and likely will remain that way for the foreseeable future (barring some Cleveland Brownsian football purgatory).
Denver has always been a Broncos town — and Colorado an orange and blue state — save for a few significant points in the city’s pro sports history. One, during the Colorado Rockies run to a World Series berth in 2007 and the subsequent not-so-terrible years that followed. Another happened during the Carmelo Anthony-era of Denver Nuggets basketball, though they shared only a piece of the spotlight with a floundering Broncos team.
The third — and color me biased having come of age through this era — was the only time in my estimation another Denver franchise made a run at the town’s top team: the Stanley Cup era for the Colorado Avalanche between the team’s move here in 1995 and the waning years following its second championship in 2001.
It was a glorious time. The Avs beat the Broncos (and, really, every Denver team) to its sport’s championship in its first year and followed it up with another just six years later. It was a time that produced some of the city’s Mount Rushmore-level stars: Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, etc.
A recent trip to Las Vegas sparked that nostalgic feeling again. At the airport and in the hotels, shops prominently featured Golden Knights apparel. Locals, not just sports fans, beamed at the mention of their new hockey team — and, by the way, not so much about the incoming Raiders.
Yes, Vegas is a new, exciting franchise for a city starved of a professional sports team for so many years. But for a team that has struggled early this season, attendance remains in the top three of the NHL.
Attendance for the Avalanche hasn’t cracked the top 10 in some time.
This is all by way of saying that there’s a longing for that Avs fever in Denver, especially with a club with such promise as this. It’s time the casual fan, not just the die-hards, step up their game.
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