Colorado Avalanche Fan Explores the Meaning of Fandom

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 23: A fan of the Colorado Avalanche cheers against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center on November 23, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 23: A fan of the Colorado Avalanche cheers against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center on November 23, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Colorado Avalanche fan Jessi Wagner talks about what it means to be a fan and what she’d like to see the team change.

As part of Colorado Avalanche fan appreciation here at Mile High Sticking, I’ve invited fans to talk about their love of the team.

Jessi Wagner is a friend I met first on Twitter. We’ve gone to a few Avs games together, and we even got featured on Pepsi Vision because Jessi made a sign for when Jarome Iginla scored his 600th goal. Here’s Jessi with the sign:

Though she considers herself more of a Colorado Rockies than Avalanche fan, Jessi has had season tickets to the Avs off and on for a few years. She’s even gone to see the team play in other venues. A true sports fan, Jessi and another friend of ours, Autumn, went to go see one of the last games at the Joe Louis Arena:

So, here are some of Jessi’s thoughts about the Avs and being an Avs fan.

What made you get into the Colorado Avalanche?

I grew up in Wyoming, so Colorado professional sports were ours too. I first got into following the Colorado Avalanche in the playoffs in 2001 when they won their second Stanley Cup. I was in high school, and it really drew me in.

I fell off the bandwagon after that because life and college got in the way, but got back into it once I moved to Denver and was lucky enough to have coworkers and friends who were into it as well. I was finally able to attend my first game after all that time. Getting to experience the atmosphere for the first time re-kindled the flame and… here I am.

What do you love most about the team currently?

I really like a lot of the guys on our team. I think we have a lot of talent and a lot of great personalities. I also love the community of fans that’s built around it. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a lot of the other fans.

I like that the practices are free and open to the public – I think that makes the team really accessible to the fans, and that’s really cool. I also love a lot of the people who work for/with the team – Moser, Conor, Nicole, Roach, Alexis – we’re lucky to have them and they really do a great job to make the game atmosphere so wonderful.

What would you change about the team?

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This is a tough one because there’s a lot that I would change. I think I don’t really know what needs to be changed for them to be successful because a lot of what happens behind-the-scenes and out of the eye of the average fan has a lot to do with it.

I would sign [Nikita] Zadorov to a long-term contract and fix the bad locker room mojo (exorcism??). I would also lock Dutchy [Matt Duchene] down because I can’t bear the thought of seeing him play anywhere else.

I would also bring back promo nights – I want to see bobbleheads and fun giveaways. All of the other teams do it – why can’t we? I was in San Jose for much of the season last year and I got a Joe Thornton Chia Pet giveaway – how cool is that!?

I would also abolish the Ice Girls – or at least get rid of their sexist cheerleader outfits. We need more fun/rallying in-game entertainment. I love the dude who wears like 20 shirts and pulls them off one at a time and hands them out. That’s fun and engaging – why can’t the sponsors sponsor stuff like that?

And I’d bring back the Yeti Foot on the jersey because I don’t like the black sun C logo and would even go so far as to equate the black sun logo with our abysmal performance.

If you could have a conversation with one of the players, what would you like to tell him?

I think I’d like to tell Landy [Gabriel Landeskog] how much I appreciate his charity efforts in the community. I think being a great athlete isn’t just about your skill as a player but what you also do with the fame that comes along with it.

Landy has always impressed me by how mature he is and the charities he’s supported. Landy’s Friends, You Can Play, inclusiveness and anti-bullying initiatives are so important. The fact that he cares about our community and chooses to send those messages to the fans – especially the young fans – is very resonant with me.

Landy haters can keep hating all they want, but I appreciate him for the work he does off the ice and I think he’s a great captain for it. I’m a proud fan of him.

Why should Avs fans attend Avs games this season?

Because if we don’t support them now, we have no right to support them when their eventual next Cup run rolls around. The last place season is behind us and we get a clean slate this October. I think the guys are going to come out swinging this season and I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

It’s been great getting to know Jessi and sharing in her enthusiasm.

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