Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild are Rivals


The Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild are in the middle of a budding rivalry because of their shared history.

The Colorado Avalanche don’t have a history with every team in the relatively new Central Division. They do have a long (for the Wild) and somewhat storied rivalry with Minnesota. A couple of down years by the Avs doesn’t change that.

Recently one of my fellow writers, Mark T., proposed that Colorado and Minnesota don’t have a rivalry:

Related Story: Wild not our Rivals

I agree with Mark’s premise that constant thumpings by one side over the other does not constitute a rivalry, i.e.; the Steelers and the Browns aren’t rivals. But that’s not the case here.

Holding Up Their End

The Colorado Avalanche haven’t done it, period — hold up their end, I mean. But the Avalanche and the Wild go much farther back then the Central Division. Mark asserts that the Avs going 6-9 and losing a seven game play off series in the last three years disqualifies this being a rivalry. Hardly.

Can you imagine what might have happened had previous management kept the talent cupboard full?

A Storied? History

More from Mile High Sticking

Name the player that scored the last goal against goalie Patrick Roy (HOF) Colorado Avalanche 1995-2003? Answer, Andrew Brunette (F) Minnesota Wild, game seven overtime, Western Conference Quarter-finals.  Bruno also played for tbe Avalanche 2005-2008.

Unlike many of the teams in the Central Division both the Av’s and the Wild come out of the former Northwest Division. The Wild were nonexistent during the Colorado Avalanche’s heyday. Since that series, neither team has been great, but equally matched? You bet. And isn’t that what really drives a rivalry?

That 2003 series was a harbinger of two things — the decline of the Avalanche and a rise  to mediocrity for the Wild. Let’s face it. What’s the only way Lord Stanley’s favorite chalice shows up in Minnesota? If a former Golden Gopher brings it home in the summer.

Expansion Wild

Winning that 2003 series was a much bigger deal to the Wild and their fans then losing it was to the Colorado Avalanche and their fans. It felt like a speed bump to the chronically playoff bound Avs. For the expansion Wild defeating a team that had just raised the cup as recently as 2001?

Let’s face it, if anything its the Avalanche that have been so dominant,as to disqualify this as a rivalry. Just not lately. If the Minnesota Wild had gotten into the playoffs more, there would be more bad blood between the teams.

A Rivalry is Born

Isn’t the playoffs where hockey rivalries are fostered? It wasn’t during the regular season that the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red  Wings fostered the truly storied rivalry between the teams. With only three playoff series in sixteen years, each won by the underdog lower seed there’s too much meat on this bone.

Next: Facing the Wild Rivalry

Hockey’s best division is the Central. Filled with talented players and motivated coaches we are in store fo some fine hockey. The NHL’s new playoff format. A continued climb to excellence by the Avalanche will provide us with many juicy rivalries in the coming years but we already have one with the Wild.