Colorado Avalanche: 7 Things Needed to Update the Pepsi Center
When the Pepsi Center opened in the fall of 1999, it was a sight to behold.
It was the most modern arena in all of the NHL, sporting a state-of-the-art LED scoreboard, two levels of luxury suites, and the first "video-ring" that encircled the entire perimeter of the lower bowl.
"The Can," as some affectionately refer to it, maintained its status as a premium venue all the way until 2008, when it hosted the Democratic National Convention and the 2008 Frozen Four tournament.
But what was top of the line in 1999 has fallen to a much more mediocre state in 2011.
The Pepsi Center is still a great building, but improvements must be made to extend its design life and help it keep up with the newer arenas that have been built recently.
Here are some suggestions that will bring the arena back to a more modern state and improve the fans' experience while inside.
Probably the most outdated component in the entire arena, the scoreboard has become an eyesore to most fans who expect modern technology at a sports venue.
Sure, it works.
But when there are monstrosities like the "Godzillatron" at the Texas Memorial Stadium, or the "Jerry-Tron" at Cowboys Stadium, fans don't expect to see black and white light boards telling them who is winning.
While the board need not be overwhelming, it would be nice to have a full-color display, such as the scoreboard at the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, or any one of the newer sports venues across the nation.
One of the changes that are actually being implemented next season is the addition of videoboards in the corners of the arena.
No word on whether they are color or not, but it would be surprising if they were not full-color high-definition.
These boards should provide fans with something other than the center scoreboard to look at during replays and game-breaks.
Upgraded Sound System
If you have sat in both the lower and upper bowls of the Pepsi Center, you know that the sound quality is drastically reduced in the upper bowl compared to the lower.
In the 100-level seats, when the goal horn sounds, you can feel the vibrations coming off the speakers even if you are standing up.
However, in the 300-level seats, the goal horn is about as loud as the crowd cheering.
To some, this may be a welcome environment, but to many fans in the upper level, the in-game experience would be greatly enhanced if they could hear the horns and music better.
Return of the Mountain
The Avalanche used to skate onto the ice through a mountain that descended from the rafters.
Due to some season ticket holders complaining that this obstructed their view, the club removed the mountain.
They didn't replace it with anything until recently, when they added a LED "doorway" that the players walk through onto the ice.
The doorway is a nice attempt, but the team shouldn't pass up their opportunity to bring a unique element back to the arena.
For comparison, the HP Pavilion in San Jose is known for its iconic player entrance, shown above, where players skate out of the shark's mouth onto the ice.
Improved Pre-Game Sequence
One of the most exciting elements of a hockey game is the opening sequence.
The pre-game sequence changes from year to year, and it often changes for the playoffs as well.
In recent years, the pre-game at Pepsi Center has fallen flat, causing fans to file in late, in the middle of the first period, without having missed much.
There needs to be a more creative approach to this sequence, though.
The Los Angeles Kings use their entire ice sheet as the backdrop for an exciting pre-game video.
The San Jose Sharks incorporate lasers into their pre-game light show.
The Calgary Flames use excessive pyrotechnics in their opening sequence.
One of the more forgettable openings for the Avalanche was a few years ago, when the pre-game video followed a flying puck around the city of Denver.
Colorado could get creative with their use of smoke makers, for example, by simulating a mountain with an avalanche of smoke coming down the face. (*see previous slide)
New Anthem Singer
I'll be the first one to tell you that Jake Schroeder is great.
I can remember a time when I felt like my Avalanche experience wasn't complete unless Schroeder sang the anthem.
But there comes a time when change is needed to spice things up.
Schroeder sings the anthem the same way every game. Which is good—that's what they pay him to do.
But I want Pepsi Center to have an exciting, energizing anthem before the game.
Take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks' anthems from the past few years.
Jim Cornelison is old school, but it works well at the United Center.
They don't need the same style, but a new singer could be a nice change of pace.
New Goal Horn
The Avalanche goal horn was recently ranked one of the worst in the NHL by the Yahoo! hockey blog, Puck Daddy.
It's not that it isn't effective, but it's so bland and generic.
The old siren was a unique element at Avalanche games and really got fans excited.
Rock and Roll Part II is also a solid goal song, but a new tune could make goals more exciting.