Colorado Avalanche: Difficulty of Saying Goodbye to Favorite Players

DENVER, CO - APRIL 02: Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche in names the second star of the game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center on April 2, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 02: Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche in names the second star of the game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center on April 2, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche have lost some big-name players to trade in recent years. Some hardcore Avs fans find it hard to say goodbye.

The Colorado Avalanche, like any other sports team, changes players on the roster pretty frequently. There might be a few core players that for the most part stick around year after year, but most of the rest of the roster changes pretty frequently. And even some of those core players can sometimes move on.

That was the case at the beginning of the month when the Avalanche traded defenseman Tyson Barrie. We’d all been gearing up for it for years, to be frank. He was a constant name on the trade block.

All except for the most Barrie-loyal fans acknowledged that, with Sam Girard and Cale Makar working out on the team, and Bo Byram coming in soon, Tyson was expendable. That fact was exacerbated by the fact he was entering the last year of his contract.

I’ve come to see there are two different kinds of hockey fans.

Some fans fancy themselves armchair GMs. They look at players purely from a business standpoint and think of them strictly as assets. For the most part, they don’t care who the players are as people. They are loyal to the team only — you hear them say “Cheer for the logo on the front, not the name on the back.”

The other kind of hockey fan is often accused of being a hockey player fan. These types of fans want one specific team to win, but they often have other teams to root for, too. And that’s because they like players as people as well as the logo on the front.

Former Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack acknowledges as much:

Those are the two extremes of the spectrum, and most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle. It should come as no surprise I fall closer to the hockey player fan than logo-loyal fan. Therefore, that makes losing players in trade or free agency very difficult. (I’m not going to go into which is the better way to fan — we all enjoy things the way we like to, and at least we’re not Millennials going to Disney.)

Now, Tyson Barrie was never one of my favorite players — I’ve ragged on him enough for that to be clear. I liked him when he was on his game, and screamed at him when he let the puck out of the offensive zone during a power play for the umpteenth time. However, even I am finding it weird when I remember that, after eight seasons, Barrie is no longer an Av.



has a lot of diehard fans here in Avs Nation, though. They lamented hard across social media. One loyal fan is even planning on making him a Shutterfly book with fan stories about Tyson:

To be honest, that’s really special. I know he’s going to think it’s touching. (If you hurry, you can still get your story in.)

I’ve been an Avalanche fan from Day 1, so of course I’ve lost a fair share of my favorites to trade, retirement, and, yes, even resignation. (I’m pretty infamous for that one.) However, I will never forget my first.

The day was February 28, 1999. I was walking across the Auraria Campus headed for class. As I neared the Tivoli Student Union, I stopped near the newspaper stand to see if there was any Avs news. (Remember, this was 1999, so the Avs could be on the front page, and, you know, that’s how you got news back then.)

And there was a picture of Joe Sakic shaking hands with a diminutive man with the headline “Avs getting Fleury real deal.” And below that big picture were three others — one of them Rene Corbet’s. My favorite.

More from Mile High Sticking

I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. More than 20 years later, I can still remember that feeling. I can still point out the exact spot where I was when I found out. I still have that newspaper.

And I hate Theo Fleury to this day. I know that’s completely irrational, that he wasn’t responsible for the trade nor the players going to Calgary for him. I think it’s because I saw his


smiling face first on that hateful article that informed me my favorite player had been traded.

Tyson Barrie got traded. So did Matt Duchene. And Ryan O’Reilly. And John-Michael Liles. Hell, even Peter Forsberg got traded. Fans got blindsided by those moves same as I did by the Corbet trade.

It’s hard to lose a favorite player to trade, retirement, or free agency. But especially it’s hard to lose them in a trade. And it can stick with you. More than 20 years later, it’s stuck with me.

Next. Saying Goodbye to Barrie. dark

I think most Colorado Avalanche fans are less… passionate than I am. I don’t think they’ll hate Nazem Kadri the way I still hate Fleury. However, if you’re a logo-loyal style of fan, and you encounter a hockey player fan, just… be kind. Some folks may now be rooting low-key for the Maple Leafs .

But we’re all part of Avs Nation in the end.