The past two decades featured some of the greatest moments in Colorado Avalanche history — from trading for Ray Bourque to winning a second Stanley Cup to playing under the Coors Field lights.
Take a look back with us as we dive into those great, and sometimes not-so-great, Avs moments since the dawn of the new millennium.
20 | Avalanche move into Pepsi Center | Oct. 5, 1999
OK, so technically the first game in Pepsi Center history for the Colorado Avalanche happened outside the parameters of the 2000s, but the 1999-00 season marked the first season played in the team’s new arena.
The Avs opened up with a win over the Nashville Predators that year in the arena’s first professional sporting event. Over the next two decades, Pepsi Center would host both NHL and NBA all-star games, a Stanley Cup Finals series, both the NCAA men’s Frozen Four and women’s Final Four and the Democratic National Convention.
19 | Tyson Jost’s draft, NHL debut makes his grandfather cry | March 31, 2017
A pair of memories most Avs fans won’t likely forget anytime soon is one that will be permanently ingrained in the Jost household forever — the happy tears of Tyson’s grandfather, Jim.
First, the waterworks began to flow when Colorado drafted Tyson Jost No. 10-overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Then, when Jost made his NHL debut on March 31, 2017, Jim let his emotions out again as he watched from the stands.
“I embarrassed my kids all to hell,” Jim Jost said after Tyson was drafted in 2016. “But, it’s a happy cry. This is so rewarding.”
18 | Varlamov earns most single-season in club history | 2013-14
Coming off a poor showing during the strike-shortened 2012-13 season, Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov had not only the best season of his career in net but one of the best in franchise history.
Helping the Avs go from worst to first, Varly put up a franchise-record 41 wins in 2013-14, setting career marks for save percentage (.927) and quality starts (44).
Varlamov would go on to earn Second-Team NHL All-Star honors while finishing fourth in Hart Memorial Trophy and second in Vezina Trophy voting.
17 | Craig Anderson stops 51 shots in an overtime playoff win vs. San Jose | April 18, 2010
Colorado’s Game 3 victory against the San Jose Sharks in the opening round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs likely will be most remembered for Dan Boyle’s own goal (which was eventually credited to Ryan O’Reilly) that gave the Avalanche a 1-0 overtime win.
But before that moment, Avs goaltender Craig Anderson absolutely stood on his head, stopping 50 shots in regulation and another in overtime for the shutout postseason win.
The Avalanche would go on to lose the series to the Sharks in six games.
16 | The 2001 NHL All-Star Game | Feb. 4, 2001
Just a year after opening the doors on Pepsi Center, the arena played host to the NHL’s All-Star Game and the events surrounding it.
Among the more notable moments from the weekend was Ray Bourque winning the accuracy shooting contest during the Super Skills Competition for an eighth and final time — and the only time as a member of the Avalanche.
The game itself set a new all-star game record for most goals (26) with Boston Bruins forward Bill Guerin capturing MVP honors with a hat trick.
15 | Colorado loses out on NHL Draft lottery | April 29, 2017
After a dismal 2016-17 season, in which the Avalanche finished dead last in the NHL with a 22-56-4 record, Colorado entered the 2017 draft lottery with a 17.936 percent chance of landing the top draft pick, the best odds of any team.
However, by some statistical miracle, the Avs missed out on a top-three selection, dropping from first to fourth as the New Jersey Devils jumped from fifth to first. Adding insult to injury, the Philadelphia Flyers moved from 13th to second while the Dallas Stars moved from eighth to third.
In the end, though, Colorado may have lucked out, nabbing defenseman and Calder Trophy candidate Cale Makar at No. 4 overall.
14 | Duchene’s shootout game-winner clinches postseason | April 6, 2010
The 2009-10 campaign was nice to rookie forward Matt Duchene, who earned All-Rookie and Calder Trophy finalist honors with 55 points in 81 games.
But perhaps the sweetest moment for the long-time Avs fan-turn-player came on April 6, 2010. With a shot to clinch a postseason berth, Colorado took the Vancouver Canucks to overtime at 3-3. In a shootout, Duchene scored the game-winning goal against Roberto Luongo, sending the Avalanche to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
13 | Patrick Roy resigns just ahead of 2016 season | Aug. 11, 2016
After three seasons behind the bench for the Avalanche, Patrick Roy resigned as head coach just before the start of the 2016-17 season, much to the surprise of many, including Colorado general manager Joe Sakic.
Roy cited a lack of input in player personnel decisions, saying in a statement:
I have thought long and hard over the course of the summer about how I might improve this team to give it the depth it needs to bring it to a higher level,” Roy said. “To achieve this, the vision of the coach and VP-hockey operations needs to be perfectly aligned with that of the organization. He must also have a say in the decisions that impact the team’s performance. These conditions are not currently met. Though it saddens me, I have put much thought about this decision in recent weeks and have come to be fully comfortable with it.
Sakic maintained that Roy was “consulted on everything” and that the two were friends both as players and as members of the club’s management.
“He was always involved, especially early he was a big help to me. He was always involved. He was aware of all the decisions we were making,” Sakic told NHL.com at the time.
12 | Gabriel Landeskog becomes youngest captain in NHL history | Sept. 4, 2012
At 19 years and 286 days old, Gabriel Landeskog became the youngest captain in NHL history when the Avalanche announced he’d wear the “C” for the team on Sept. 4, 2012.
Landeskog bested Sidney Crosby for the honor by 11 days, though he did not make his on-ice debut as the team’s leader until Jan. 19, 2013, due to the NHL lockout.
The reign as the youngest captain in NHL history, however, came to a fairly quick end for Landeskog after the Edmonton Oilers named Connor McDavid its captain on Oct. 5, 2016, surpassing Landeskog by 20 days.
11 | Adam Foote’s final game | April 10, 2011
The 2010-11 season was not particularly kind to the Colorado Avalanche, who finished 30-44-8, second-to-last in the NHL ahead of only the Edmonton Oilers.
But a battle of futility between the two teams in the final game of the regular season became a moment to remember for long-time franchise great Adam Foote.
Despite not scoring a point in 15-plus minutes on the ice, Foote, who was set to retire following the season, was recognized as the first star in the Avs 4-3 overtime win.
Here’s his memorable final shift:
10 | The Rebuild: Avs draft Duchene, Landeskog and MacKinnon with top picks
Over a five-year stretch, the Avalanche utilized the NHL Entry Draft to overhaul its roster.
First, Colorado selected Matt Duchene No. 3-overall in the 2009 draft, followed by Gabriel Landeskog at No. 2-overall in 2011 and Nathan MacKinnon with the top pick in 2013.
Duchene would wind up a finalist for the Calder Trophy while Landeskog and MacKinnon would earn the rookie of the year honors in their first NHL seasons.
While Duchene and the Avs have parted ways since that point, Colorado’s rebuilt through the draft significantly, adding Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost with the No. 10 picks in the 2015 and 2016 drafts, respectively, along with No. 4-overall pick Cale Makar in 2017.
9 | Roy becomes winningest goalie in NHL history | Oct. 18, 2000
The Washington Capitals sure made Patrick Roy earn it, but on Oct. 18, 2000, the Avalanche netminder because the NHL’s winningest-goalie with a 4-3 overtime win.
Roy toppled Hockey Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk’s career record of 447 wins — a mark long-held as unbreakable — and did so in 121 fewer games.
Eventually, Roy would end up with 551 career wins, becoming the first goalie to surpass the 500-win mark, but the record has since fallen to long-time New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur (691).
8 | Avs renew rivalry with Red Wings at Coors Field | Feb. 27, 2016
In the second of two NHL Stadium Series games in 2016, the Avalanche and long-time rival Detroit Red Wings faced off in prime time under the lights at Coors Field.
While the rivalry has since fizzled due to the Red Wings relocation to the Eastern Conference, the two teams made for the perfect matchup for the first outdoor game in Avalanche history.
And while Colorado did lose the one game that actually counted, the Avs bested the Red Wings during the alumni game the previous day, 5-2.
7 | The Lockout | 2004-05
While the NHL lockout had a major effect on the NHL league-wide, the season that was not to be somewhat signified the end of an era for the Avalanche.
From the mid-to-late 1990s through the early 2000s, Colorado stood as one of the top franchises in all of hockey, winning two Stanley Cups and earning 10 consecutive postseason berths.
However, things seemingly began to drop off for the Avs after the lockout with the departure of franchise great Peter Forsberg, followed by the first missed postseason in club history in 2006-07. That season also saw the end of Colorado’s NHL sellout streak at 487 games.
6 | Cale Makar’s NHL debut | April 15, 2019
In mid-April last year, Avalanche rookie Cale Makar had perhaps one of the best weeks in hockey history.
First, on April 12, Makar won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player. The following night, Makar led his UMass team in the Frozen Four final, though they’d lose 3-0 to Minnesota-Duluth.
Then, on April 14, Makar signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Avs, who drafted him the previous season at No. 4 overall. And finally, later that day, he suited up for a Game 3 tilt with the Calgary Flames in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Makar earned his first NHL goal that night as well, on his first shot, becoming the first defenseman in league history to score a playoff goal in his NHL debut.
5 | The Avalanche’s 2013-14 season
For many reasons, the 2013-14 campaign ranks among the best in Avalanche history.
For starters, it saw the return of one legend to the franchise — Patrick Roy as head coach — and the elevator of another — Joe Sakic as executive vice president of hockey operations.
In his first game behind an NHL bench, Roy would provide one particularly interesting moment. Upset by an attempted hit from Anaheim Duck defenseman Ben Lovejoy on rookie Nathan MacKinnon, Roy nearly flattened Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau with the stanchion between each teams bench during a heated screaming match.
Roy would then proceed to lead the Avs to a 52–22–8 season and postseason berth just a year removed from a dismal 16–25–7 campaign. For his efforts, Roy would earn the Jack Adams Award for the league’s top coach.
MacKinnon would also rack up the hardware, earning the Calder Memorial Trophy for the NHL’s best rookie, while Ryan O’Reilly earned the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
4 | Avs send Bourque to the rafters | Nov. 24, 2001
While the franchise itself had previously retired the numbers of four Quebec Nordiques players — including Peter Stastny, father of former Avs forward Paul Stastny — the Avalanche hadn’t raised a name to the rafters until 2001.
That season, Colorado retired Ray Bourque’s No. 77 — a somewhat controversial decision considering his short tenure with the team.
Patrick Roy’s No. 33 soon followed in 2003, followed by Joe Sakic’s No. 19 in 2009, Peter Forsberg’s No. 21 in 2011, Adam Foote’s No. 52 in 2013 and Milan Hejduk’s No. 23 in 2018.
Interestingly enough, Roy (Montreal) and Bourque (Boston) are two of just nine players to have their number retired by two NHL franchises.
3 | Game 82 vs. St. Louis | April 7, 2018
Rebounding from a last-place finish during the 2016-17 season, Colorado came into the final game of the 2017-18 regular season needed a win in regulation to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
And the Avs had to do so against divisional rivals St. Louis, also vying for the final postseason spot left.
On the backs of two defensemen — Tyson Barrie and Samuel Girard — the Avs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Then, the cavalry arrived, as Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog found the net followed by a late goal from Matthew Nieto.
The two clubs had traded places in the standings during the months leading up to the regular-season finale, with Colorado eventually getting the edge.
2 | Colorado trades for Ray Bourque | March 6, 2000
With his career nearing its end and Boston at the bottom of its division, all-time great Ray Bourque requested a trade from the Bruins to a Stanley Cup contender to finish his career.
On March 6, 2000, the club obliged, sending Bourque and fellow veteran David Andreychuk to the Colorado Avalanche for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson and a first-round pick.
Bourque helped the Avs advance all the way to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals before the team fell short of the Stanley Cup Finals by a 3-2 margin to the Dallas Stars.
But the Hall of Famer would return for one final season in 2000-01, wherein he helped Colorado to its second Stanley Cup victory.
1 | Avs win second Stanley Cup in team history | June 9, 2001
Statistically the best team in the club’s history, with 118 points, the Colorado Avalanche raised the Stanley Cup in 2001 for the second time in just six seasons.
That year, the Avs earned the Presidents’ Trophy for the top team in the league, captain Joe Sakic was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP and goalie Patrick Roy earned his NHL-record third Conn Smythe Trophy for postseason MVP.
Oh, and Ray Bourque, who had the most games played without winning a Stanley Cup in NHL history, earned his first championship, which was memorialized by Sakic allowing the legendary defenseman to raise the Cup first, breaking the tradition of the captain doing so.
- The Extra Mile: Adding more playoff teams is NFL 'embracing mediocrity'
- There's no end in sight in the search to replace Mel Tucker at CU
- Cheers/Jeers: So long Sark, and happy birthday Big Honey
- Around the AFC West: Bieniemy stays, Brady update, Okung skeptical
- 2020 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Tight Ends