Colorado Avalanche: 10 Most Iconic Moments in Avalanche History
The Colorado Avalanche have only been around for 15 years, but have already created some pretty amazing history in the time that they have been in Denver.
Records have been set, countless awards have been won, blockbuster trades have been made and the franchise has won two Stanley Cups.
Along the road, there have been several defining and iconic moments.
Here are the top 10 iconic moments in the history of the Colorado Avalanche.
The First Bang Bang Dance
This one is very new, just from the last season of hockey but is something that Avalanche fans immediately loved.
Who knows what prompted these guys to start doing this dance, spawned on the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," but it really resonated with the Avalanche faithful.
This is definitely not as iconic as many of the other moments that we will find on the list, but it really was something that started to draw crowds to the Pepsi Center and made the fans in Denver see that the players were having a great deal of fun.
It was something that added to the experience of the game. Not only did the Avalanche win, but you got a show to go along with the hockey game!
I'm personally a big fan of the bang, bang dance and I hope to see a lot more of them in the 2011-2012 season.
Colorado Gains a Franchise
Robert Laberge/Getty Images
One of the first most iconic moment for the Colorado Avalanche obviously has to come when the Quebec Nordiques left for Denver.
The Nordiques were a franchise that had really gone through everything. They had been competitive, then sunk into the basement of the NHL for years, becoming the first team in NHL history to have the first overall draft pick for three straight years.
The team recovered through the draft and a gigantic trade with the Philadelphia Flyers that brought over Peter Forsberg and Mike Ricci.
The day the Avalanche came to Denver was a great day for sports in Denver and really did end up being a good thing for the game of hockey.
The suffering in Quebec still goes on as they look to find some way to return the NHL to Quebec City, but this move was incredibly iconic for the Avalanche.
Claude Lemieux Nails Chris Draper
The Claude Lemieux hit on Kris Draper is one of the most infamous plays in the history of the NHL. There's no doubt that this hit was a dirty hit in an already very heated series between clearly the two best teams in the NHL that season, the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche.
Lemieux was kicked out of the game and was then suspended for the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, something that had never happened before in the NHL.
It also solidified what was to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, rivalries in the history of professional hockey.
Perhaps the only other rivalry that got as much press as this one in all of sports was the Red Sox and the Yankees!
These iconic brawls took a rivalry that had all the makings of a really good one and made it into the best rivalry that has been seen in recent hockey.
From Darren McCarty's retribution on Claude Lemieux to Patrick Roy challenging Chris Osgood from the other side of the ice, this rivalry provided both sets of fans with enough venom towards each other to last even until today.
Though the players might not feel the rivalry as much, as all the players involved in this blood feud are now gone, the fans still feel it.
The Avalanche Draft Matt Duchene
The 2008-2009 NHL season was one of the most frustrating in the history of the Colorado Avalanche and resulted in the Avalanche finishing in the bottom of the Western Conference and with the third overall pick in the NHL draft.
With this pick, the Avalanche took a huge step towards turning things around.
Drafting Matt Duchene will be an even more iconic moment in the future of the Avalanche organization when they once again become a contending franchise.
People will look at Duchene being drafted as one of the prime moments that the Avalanche turned things around.
Gabriel Landeskog's draft is another example of the Avalanche moving back to contention.
Patrick Roy Can't Hear Jeremy Roenick
The Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks played an incredibly intense playoff series in the 1996 playoffs, going to overtime four times in a six-game series.
In Game 3, Jeremy Roenick scored a highlight reel breakaway goal to tie the game that the Blackhawks would eventually win in overtime.
In Game 4, Roenick had another great chance to beat Roy, but was caught from behind and taken down just before he could make a move. No penalty was called, and Roenick sounded off about it.
Roy, in one of the great comeback zingers in the NHL, simply said that he couldn't hear what Roenick had to say because he had his two Stanley Cup rings plugged in his ear.
This was definitely an iconic moment in Avalanche history, because the Avalanche were such a young team at the time, albeit incredibly talented. That youth left them without that swagger and unwavering confidence that really exploded once Patrick made that quote.
It really showed in their play in each of the following series; the Avalanche weren't going to back down from anybody ever again.
Joe Sakic's No. 19 Heads to the Rafters
An incredibly emotional night for the Avalanche organization and for all of its fans, the Colorado Avalanche started off the 2009-2010 regular season by retiring Joe Sakic's number.
Sakic leads the Avalanche in pretty much every single major statistical category and was one of the last of the Quebec Nordique franchise to finally ride off into the sunset.
The incredibly iconic moment symbolized two things for the Colorado Avalanche.
First, it was the end of an era. Joe Sakic had worn the captain's C on his chest for every season that the Avalanche were in Denver.
He led the franchise to glory and was always one of the most respected and classiest players in the NHL.
He was always such a clutch performer and you just knew that Sakic would give his team a chance to win the game in some way. He was always the epitome of what a superstar should be. Incredibly talented but incredibly humble.
Second, it signified the beginning of a new era in Colorado with young superstars like Matt Duchene coming in to do exactly the things that he did in Quebec and take a struggling franchise to the mountain top.
This was a piece I wrote on my own blog site on the evening this all happened.
Avalanche Win First Stanley Cup
Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals was expected to be a coronation game that the Avalanche would take easily since they had dominated the rest of the series.
That was not to be, as John Vanbiesbrouck and Patrick Roy put on one of the greatest goalie duels in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, stopping more than 110 shots between the two of them and allowing only one goal.
The goal scored by Uwe Krupp in the third overtime period gave Colorado their first Stanley Cup and the City of Denver their first major sports championship.
This outstanding performance by the Avalanche happened before the two Super Bowl Championships won by the Denver Broncos, and was fondly remembered 15 years after the fact to start Colorado's last season.
This championship started it all for the Colorado Avalanche and for the City of Denver.
Patrick Roy Demands Trade
In a move that nobody would have thought likely, the Colorado Avalanche managed to acquire superstar goalie Patrick Roy from the Montreal Canadiens after coach Mario Tremblay refused to pull Roy in a game against Detroit until nine goals had been scored.
This moment is iconic not only in Colorado and Montreal history, but in NHL history as well, as this move signified the end of an era of dominance by the Montreal Canadiens, who struggled to find another legitimate No. 1 goalie for years.
In what was a very interesting coincidence, Patrick Roy had vowed to never play for the Nordique franchise, but luckily for all Colorado Avalanche fans, Roy was okay with coming to Denver.
Patrick Roy's arrival in Denver made a good team into a perennial threat to win the Stanley Cup.
I do believe that this is more iconic than the first Stanley Cup, because I sincerely believe that the Avalanche would not have won the Stanley Cup in 1996 without Roy on the team.
When Ray Bourque came to the Colorado Avalanche in the 1999-2000 season at the trade deadline, everybody in the hockey world was waiting for this moment.
It took one more season to get there, but Bourque winning the Stanley Cup was perhaps the greatest ending to a story that ever could have been written.
This moment truly is the most iconic moment in the history of the NHL because it absolutely personifies every single thing that these guys have to go through in order to have this feeling.
The suffering of what it feels like to get so close and then fall short, then have to wait for so long to even get another shot at it; 22 years of struggle only to be rewarded at the very end.
Every single time I see this clip, especially the one where the camera zooms in on Bourque's son, who is just crying his eyes out at the sight of his father finally accomplishing his life's goal, I cannot help but have goosebumps run up and down my entire body.
If there is a more iconic image in the game of hockey, or even in sports itself, I haven't yet seen it.