Pepsi Center to Get Name Change


Kroenke Sports has announced that the Pepsi Center is going to undergo a name change. Josh Kroenke and his family own Pepsi Center, of course. The name change is only going to happen during Colorado Avalanche games, though.

Josh Kroenke held an evening press conference on March 31 in conjunction with GM (and general Avs guru) Joe Sakic. Head coach Patrick Roy couldn’t join them because he flew to California with the team for the last road trip of the season.

Kroenke gave a clue to his intentions in his opening greetings (not as big a clue as when John Elway thanked himself, but you get the point):

"“Thank you, hockey fans in Colorado, for buying tickets and coming to our arena here in Denver.”"

Personally, I thought that was a laborious way of thanking Colorado Avalanche fans. A glance at Joe Sakic made it seem as if he’d gotten a whiff of Doug Gilmour, but the camera panned back to Josh Kroenke.

Josh Korenke continued:

"“The Pepsi Center can hold 18,000 hockey fans. Time was it used to be filled with fans in burgundy and blue. Then, for awhile, attendance got a bit thin.”"

Another flash of Joe Sakic, this time looking downright dyspeptic.

Kroenke started hinting at his plans:

"“In the last couple years, Joe, Patty and I have noticed that, just during certain games, there seem to be almost more opponent fans than Avalanche fans. That’s not always true — there really weren’t any Edmonton Oilers fans in the crowd the other night. However, the opponent fan population is especially strong when the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and LA Kings come to town. Oh, and Minnesota Wild fans really make their presence known as well, not to mention Detroit Red Wings supporters.”"

At that moment Joe Sakic excused himself. Kroenke, for his part, finally revealed his plans.

"“Kroenke Sports feel it is unfair to discriminate against any hockey fans. Since it’s opponent hockey fans who are filling the arena, we want to make like it’s their home arena. So, starting with the 2015-16 season, the Pepsi Center is going to get a name change during certain hockey matches.”"

Sakic quietly returned, looking stony-faced. He sipped water almost continuously as Kroenke continued:

“During Chicago games, we’ll raise a banner over the Pepsi Center name plate that shows the name of the arena is the United Center. We’ll also be serving Chicago dogs in all food venues.

“During St. Louis games, we’ll fly a Scottrade banner and sell Budweiser and Bud Light instead of Coors products.

“During Los Angeles games, the arena becomes the Staples Center, and we’ll have movie posters everywhere. For Detroit games, we’re just going to put a big tire over the Pepsi logo and flame-proof everything so they don’t start any fires.”

Kroenke paused to confer with Sakic, who just shrugged. Kroenke continued:

"“When we rename the arena Xcel Energy Center for the Minnesota Wild, we’re not sure how to make them feel more at home except to take down all the division, conference and Stanley Cup banners so they don’t feel envious.”"

Kroenke went on to say again how grateful he was to the “hockey fans of Colorado, whatever your home team.”

Sakic, for his part, didn’t seem to share the sentiment.

I don’t know what the good folks over at Pepsi Co., who forked over millions of dollars to have their name on the arena, think of these proposed name changes. One thing I do know: This entire story is phony. Happy April Fools day from all of us at Mile High Sticking!

A final thought on opponent fans in Pepsi Center:

Fill the Can, Avs Nation. Fill the Can.

Next: No Chicago Red in Pepsi Center

Next: Exchange the Blackhawks for the Avalanche

Next: Wild vs Avs: Fan Fight

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