Dear Colorado Avalanche,
Sadly, you aren’t a very good hockey team this season. Even worse, you’re about to play the Carolina Hurricanes in Carolina, where you haven’t won since 2008.
As a Carolina native, I only get to see you play in person one time a year. And every year, I dread going to the game. I sit three rows behind the net and cheer you on as you disappoint me year after year. I understand that the team hasn’t been consistently good since the glory days of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, and Patrick Roy; but it’s not like the Hurricanes are any good either. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2009 and have been a complete mess over the years thanks to Jim Rutherford. How is it that you constantly lose to this team in Carolina? Are you guys loading up on BBQ and sweet tea before the game?
For the most part, I cheer my heart out when you’re in town. Sure, I like to boo guys who I believe shouldn’t be in the lineup (last year it was Jan Hejda, this year it’ll be Nate Guenin), but overall I like this team and the players on it. That’s why it’s so hard for me to sit in the stands with my custom Avs jersey, dejected as you drop another one to the lowly Hurricanes.
Do you realize that people in Carolina don’t even know hockey? Last year, I sat in front of a guy who seemed to be on a first date with a girl who had no interest in him or hockey. All game I heard him drop nuggets of knowledge such as, “Eric Staal is so good, he’s like one of the top scorers in the league this year” and “Cam Ward has been amazing every year, I can’t believe they’re not starting him tonight.”
While that was annoying, nothing was more disheartening than him trying to talk to me about your play. When Calvin Pickard had to bail out the defense or when Matt Duchene missed an open chance, he leaned forward and said, “Oh man. Your guys are really good. I can’t believe he didn’t score.” He actually thought you were a good hockey team. That’s how low the bar has been set in Carolina.
This year’s game is the night before Halloween. I suspect a lot of people will be dressed as empty chairs as the Hurricanes have struggled to fill the arena for years now. Plus, the state fair just wrapped up and most families are probably recovering from all that fried food.
I understand that it might be hard to get excited for a game when you’re playing in front of a crowd the size of a high school baseball game, but that should just give you more incentive to embarrass them. Go out there and say, “No wonder nobody shows up to your games — you guys suck.” Have some pride. I know that you’re used to losing, but it’s ok to win.
I don’t care if you lose every game for the rest of the season. You play 41 times at the Pepsi Center. Those fans have seen plenty of wins. I haven’t seen a victory since 2008. Change that on Friday. Change that so I can walk out of the PNC Arena with my head held high, slapping hands with the five other Avalanche fans in attendance.
Let me feel good as a fan for the first time since Nathan MacKinnon’s OT game-winning goal in the playoffs two years ago. Make me proud to be an Avalanche fan. And if a win is too much to ask for, at least give me some effort, something that has lacked this season and has rarely showed up in Carolina. Remember, this team beat you in Denver. Return the favor.
Signed, Jeremy Lambert
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