Colorado Avalanche: Giving Thanks for this Team

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Tyson Jost #17, Patrik Nemeth #12, Matt Calvert #11, and Sven Andrighetto #10 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate their 4-3 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks on November 18, 2018 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Tyson Jost #17, Patrik Nemeth #12, Matt Calvert #11, and Sven Andrighetto #10 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate their 4-3 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks on November 18, 2018 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche are an exciting young team. Here are just some of the reasons I’m thankful for them this season.

Every year I write a post stating why I’m thankful for the Colorado Avalanche. A lot of times, my reasons are the same. But it’s a Thanksgiving tradition, and I do have some new reasons to add to the mix.

Our History

If you’ve read many of my posts, you’ll know I pride myself on being an Avs fan since the Denver Grizzlies — since it was even rumored that Colorado would be getting a team. I love and welcome new fans (unless they’re trying to name our top line without really caring about them). However, I also love having been part of the whole history.

I feel lucky. I feel lucky to have gotten to celebrate that Colorado was getting an NHL team.

I feel so lucky to have watched the Colorado Avalanche bring the first-ever sports championship to Colorado. And then to do it again a few years later, for Ray Bourque.

I am so happy that I got to watch Ray Bourque and some of the other greats, like Paul Kariya and Rob Blake. I am the epitome of thankful that I got to watch Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic in their heyday.

And you already know how utterly grateful I am to have watched Patrick Roy.

I also love that I’m watching the Avs New Era, even if it’s not being called that. On that note…

I’m Watching the Team Grow Up

As I’ve mentioned before, Matt Duchene is one of my favorite players because I watched him get drafted and attended his NHL debut. I watched him grow from an awkward boy to a sometimes controversial man. And then I watched him go away — and that’s as much a part of life as the others.

I didn’t know I was watching him grow — I wasn’t that self-aware. Because of Duchene, though, I am aware now. First with Nathan MacKinnon and then Mikko Rantanen, I had a sense that I’d watch these boys grow up into men, at least on the ice and a little through their social media.

The feeling is strong in me with the even younger crop, especially Tyson Jost. I think it’s a little guilt — I was annoyed when the Colorado Avalanche drafted him because he seemed small and weak compared to the player I thought fit our system better, Logan Brown. Color me wrong, Avs Nation. Jost is a much better fit for our team.

And now we have Cale Makar, Conor Timmins and Martin Kaut, not to mention a lot of later picks that just might pan out. I’m really conscious now that I’m watching them grow into their roles on my team.

The Who’s Your Daddy Line — Just That

The top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog is ridiculous right now. I have to keep pinching myself that these are our Avs players. I keep waiting for them to regress because, hey, this is the Avs of the 2010s, not the 1990s.

A part of me hates sharing them with the world, too. They’re getting the recognition they well deserve, but I feel a little selfish. Recently, the NHL ran a poll of what to name the line, and a lot of us Avs fans were indignant. This is our line on our team.

If you weren’t here for the Dreadful Season, you don’t get to name our superstars.

Speaking of…

The Dreadful Why Us Season of 48-Points

That’s right, I’m actually thankful for that 2016-17 48-point season. It sucked going through that, but we made it. We can wear it as a badge of honor that we watched our team be the absolute butt of the league, and we came through on the other side with our fandom intact.

It gives us a little street cred. “Oh, you think your team is doing poorly? Are you the worst team in the salary cap era? You’re on-pace for a full 60 points — gimme a break.”

It’s a little funny because I’ve been thinking about that season recently — and renaming it in every five posts or so. I didn’t actually write a thankfulness post that Thanksgiving, but it had nothing to do with how bad the team was. Indeed, it was when I saw how badly the Colorado Avalanche were tanking that I came back to the fandom.

My team needed me, and I couldn’t stay mad when they were hurting so badly.

Coverage of the Team

Hils goes into this more deeply in her own thankfulness post. However, the Colorado Avalanche enjoy fantastic coverage. Everyone from play-by-play announcer Marc Moser to the kick-ass (mostly) ladies running the social media does an incredible job of fomenting excitement for the Colorado Avalanche.

I’m also thankful for this:

It’s not Avs-related, but I like it just the same.

Friends I’ve Made Through the Colorado Avalanche

More from Mile High Sticking

Speaking of Hils, I’ve made some great friends through the Colorado Avalanche. I have fellow fans with whom I’ve only interacted on Twitter and Facebook. And I have friends whom I’ve met who are part of my Avs fan crew now.

And I have the contributors, past and present, whom I’ve gotten to know on this site. Every single one of them has been someone special. Some have gone on to great things. All are still Avs fans.

Big shoutout to my current crew — Hils, Crystal and Callie. I hope you enjoy their unique perspectives on covering the Avalanche as much as I do.

I’m Still Here on Mile High Sticking

I didn’t make a fanfare of it this year, but I’ve been the editor (site expert) of Mile High Sticking for a little over four years. Blogging about this team is something I’ve always wanted to do since before blogging even existed.

I like talking about the Colorado Avalanche. I like talking about the players, who they are as people and what they do on the ice. I like watching the interplay of their relationships during games.

I love getting to know fellow fans. Sports fandom is a special community. We have all these relationships within the community, but in the end, the desire is the same — our team to win.

I adore hockey in all its beauty and aggression and hilarity. These are men skating around at full speed, hitting each other with their bodies, whacking at a puck with a crooked stick, and so often falling down. Every second is pure entertainment.

All of that comes through in my writing. It’s why I’m delighted to be a blogger and not a “sports reporter.” I have no desire to try and be even-handed about the Avs. I’m a fan writing for a fan site — being a homer is pretty much a prerequisite.

Sometimes that constitutes rage blogging. Sometimes that looks like gushing. Sometimes I go off on my weird tangents like a dog with a bone. What can I say — it’s a labor of love.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Avs Nation. If you’re feeling thankful about the Colorado Avalanche, please share below why.