Colorado Avalanche: Watching the Handshake Line

DENVER, CO - APRIL 22: Craig Smith
DENVER, CO - APRIL 22: Craig Smith /

The Colorado Avalanche handshake line was a special moment, one that keeps up the century-old tradition.

After 24 hours, I think I can face the Colorado Avalanche’s handshake line. I’ve always loved the handshake line. They were a lot of fun back in the day, especially since it was usually the Avs who were the victors. There have been too few of them involving Colorado in recent years.

The handshake line is a gentlemanly tradition that dates back 100 years. Art Ross and Frank Patrick shook hands after the 1908 version of an all star game, and the tradition was born — or that’s the legend anyway. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive evidence that it started back then.

In any case, though there’s no rule mandating it, the handshake line is a tradition that has been in effect at least as far back as we have video recordings. And last night, the Avalanche went through their own.

It was the first time I had seen a handshake line in person, so I was excited. Playoff tickets back in the day were too expensive. And I missed Game 7 in 2014 because I thought there’d be a second round.

So, last night I got to see my first live handshake line. I wish it had been after an Avalanche victory, but it was still a cool thing to experience. Here’s the official recording:

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All of us were giving the Avalanche a standing ovation and chanting, “Let’s go, Avs!” as we had all season. I recorded the handshake line, but all you can hear is my own “Let’s go, Avs!” chant, so I never posted it.

You don’t see it clearly in the official recording, but defenseman Nikita Zadorov is the first one through. He doesn’t linger over any conversations, so he speeds through the line. Patrik Nemeth and Tyson Barrie are close behind. (There was even some question of whether they went through the line, but they did — just quickly.)

After them is Nathan MacKinnon. He definitely slows the whole process down. It’s clear that the majority of the Nashville Predators want to say something to him. Judging by the league-wide reaction to MacKinnon, I’m going to guess most of it was praise and awe.

At the end of the Nashville line is P.K. Subban. When MacKinnon gets to him, they spend a good amount of time talking. We don’t exactly know what’s said, but here’s what P.K. said of MacKinnon during his post-practice presser:

I’m sure Subban did, indeed, state that he hopes MacKinnon takes home the Hart Trophy as MVP.

Gabriel Landeskog is a couple players behind MacKinnon. He stops and exchanges some words with Mike Fisher. Along the way, former Predator Colin Wilson also hugs and chats with some of his former teammates. However, it’s rookie Samuel Girard who gets a little emotional here and there — he even holds up the line. Maybe it’s not all ice water in his veins.

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The Colorado Avalanche are a young team with a bright and promising future. I hope to see them in a handshake line again next season because that will mean another playoff appearance. And maybe this time they’ll be the victors.