Colorado Avalanche: Tiers of Fandom?


There are different ways to be a Colorado Avalanche fan and tiers within each type of fandom.

The Colorado Avalanche fanbase is a relatively small but proud group. As I’ve observed before, we’re also fractious as hell. That could be any hockey/sports fanbase, but there’s no doubting that Avs fans like to argue among themselves.

Battle lines usually get drawn between players and coaches. Some fans blame the players when things go wrong with the team. Others look to the coaches and their systems.

You probably already know where I fall. If not, here’s a refresher:

Related Story: Fallacy of Blaming the Coach

Related Story: Why Blaming Roy is Wrong

Among the Colorado Avalanche fanbase, there are other, less obvious battle lines. Those have to do with tiers of fandom — who’s a more legitimate or hardcore fan? Let’s look at some of the ways we distinguish ourselves, and let me know below where you think you fit in.

Years of Colorado Avalanche Fandom

The NHL announced in June of 1995 that the Quebec Nordiques were being relocated to Colorado, and the deal became final on July 1, 1995.

I like to joke that I’ve been an Avalanche fan since the Denver Grizzlies. Before the NHL decided to relocate the Nordiques, hockey fans in Denver understood that the IHL Grizzlies were a test of the hockey market. Our hockey team of the 1980s hadn’t worked out, you see, and got relocated to New Jersey.

Read more:

Related Story: Colorado Get NHL Team

In other words, I’ve been an Avalanche fan as long as it’s at all possible to be an Avs fan — I was one of the many who wanted an NHL team in Colorado.

colorado avalanche
Patrick Roy as the Colorado Avalanche’s star goalie. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons /

I’m very proud of my history as an Avs fan, but I don’t look down on newbie fans. On the contrary — I want my team to have more and more fans because they’re the best! I want them to be a team that gets bandwagon fans like the Chicago Blackhawks and Denver Broncos do.

However, I also acknowledge my history colors my current perspective. I was a young adult when the Avalanche came to Colorado, so I remember those glory days so very well. I revered Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy in their playing days.

I was at games when Sakic and Roy were in their prime as players. I can still remember my disbelief and euphoria when I heard that Patrick Roy, the greatest goalie in the NHL, was coming to my team. My fondest Avalanche memories are largely because of what those two men did for the team.

Therefore, I get a little angry when younger or newer Avs fans criticize Sakic and Roy. It makes me furious to hear them say things like, “Roy was a great player in his day — that doesn’t mean he can coach.”

That’s when I draw the line on my top tier of fandom. If you weren’t at the very first Stanley Cup parade, you don’t get to express that drivel about Roy and Sakic. If you were too young to be at the riot that ensued in downtown Denver after Uwe Krupp earned the Cup-winning goal in triple overtime, your opinion on Roy and Sakic count less than mine.

I know that’s going to bring some hackles up. However, those same hackles get raised on me when I hear the criticism. There is no one on earth who deserves a little extra time to make the Colorado Avalanche great again than Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy.

Deep breath — I’m on a lower tier of the next one.

Season Ticket Holders

More from Avalanche News

Colorado Avalanche season ticket holders get a few perks. They get occasional memorabilia. They also get access to the players and coaches that the rest of the fandom doesn’t get. For example, the team holds a golf game every fall for longtime season ticket holders to play with the players and coaches.

I’m not a season ticket holder, and I never have been. The closest I came was last season when I bought a 20-game partial plan. I got a nifty calendar of the games and a card for 10% off in the team store. (Full plan members got 15% off.) Oh, and I got priority access to the Stadium Series tickets, which is the reason I got the plan.

I’m on several email lists, so I get better discounts on single-game tickets than if I bought a plan. Plus, I really can’t afford season tickets, nor can I go to all the games because I have to work some nights.

I don’t think season ticket holders are necessarily better fans, just richer ones. However, I am jealous of the perks they get.

Ok, in the next category, let’s see where we all fall.

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Team Devotion

How much do you like to talk Colorado Avalanche hockey? Do you watch all the games, even if it’s just on TV? Do you listen to all the interviews? Do you go to practices and camps? When you go to games, do you arrive early enough to watch the players warm up?

How much do you love the Colorado Avalanche?

My devotion has waxed and waned through the years. I was an über-fan when the team first came and for the first several years. I bought tons of gear, and everyone who knew me understood I was an Avs fan.

Then the Avalanche traded my favorite player, Rene Corbet, and I transitioned into a different part of my life anyway. My fandom resurged when they won the Stanley Cup in 2001, but I moved abroad just a few months after. Life happened and, believe it or not, I didn’t even know until a couple months after the fact that Patrick Roy retired in 2003!

I started getting back into my fandom in the Duchene era. I was at the game in which Peter Forsberg was supposed to return. I was at Joe Sakic’s retirement. I was at Matt Duchene‘s and Garbiel Landeskog’s first games.

And when Sakic and Roy returned in the front offices, I became my old self again. All those things I asked about in the first paragraph are things I do — and not just so I can write about them here. On my days off, I almost always wear an Avs shirt, and I have the KSE Avalanche license plates. I’m going to get an Avs tattoo.

Believe it or not, there are some who are more fanatical than I am. They would never dream of criticizing a player. They wait after practices to meet the coaches and players. They go to see the team play in different cities. (To be honest, that’s something I’d like to do.)

And there are plenty who are still like I was a few years ago, who say they don’t watch the team so much anymore but used to love them in the glory days.

Next: Growth Still a Priority for the Avs

I’m proud to be a Colorado Avalanche fan. There’s no wrong way to fan, but there are tiers. Where do you fall in all the categories?