Colorado Avalanche Fans Love the Quebec Nordiques?

QUEBEC CITY, QC - SEPTEMBER 28: Fans of the former NHL team the Quebec Nordiques enjoy the atmosphere during the NHL pre-season game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Videotron Centre on September 28, 2015 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
QUEBEC CITY, QC - SEPTEMBER 28: Fans of the former NHL team the Quebec Nordiques enjoy the atmosphere during the NHL pre-season game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Videotron Centre on September 28, 2015 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Some Colorado Avalanche fans have a great affinity for the Quebec Nordiques. Here’s an exploration of why.

The Colorado Avalanche were once the Quebec Nordiques. That’s obvious, and the majority of Avs fans are aware.

However, in my mind, the two teams are different. I realize they’re part of the same franchise, but that doesn’t make them the same entity. I didn’t cheer for Quebec back in the day, and I don’t retroactively cheer for them now.

I’ve noticed a lot of Avs fans feel differently. It’s not unusual to see Quebec gear at Avalanche games on people cheering for the Colorado club. Some of this gear is related to Avs greats, but some of it is just generic Nordiques gear.

What’s more, whenever there’s talk of third jersey designs, Avs fans often agitate for a tribute to the Nordiques. That seems weird to me.

After getting into some discussions with such Avs fans, I decided to explore the matter further using a very scientific method — a Twitter poll.

But first, a little history lesson.

Brief History of the Quebec Nordiques

The Nordiques were founded in Quebec as one of the original World Hockey Association teams in 1972. Nordiques translates from French roughly as “Northerners,” which relates to the fact that the Quebec club was the northernmost team in North American professional sports.

In 1979, the struggling WHA merged with the robust NHL, which absorbed the Nordiques along with the Whalers, Oilers and Jets. The team had to lose a lot of players, and they sunk in play.

The Quebec Nordiques were up and down over the next decade-and-a-half. However, by the early 1990s, they were mostly down. They had some bright young talent in Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg. However, the franchise was struggling financially.

Team owner Marcel Aubut asked for a bailout and a publicly-funded arena from Quebec’s provincial government. The deal fell through, and in swooped COMSAT Entertainment.

They bought the team and moved them to Colorado, and here’s where I can stop looking at my research reference page because I have Avalanche history memorized.

Not so Nordiques history. I was never a Nordiques fan. But I’ve been an Avs fan from before day one.

Colorado Avalanche Pre-History

Colorado once had an NHL team named the Colorado Rockies. They played in Colorado for just six years from 1976 to 1982. I’m not going to lie and say I was a fan back then, but I’m moderately acquainted with their lore.

Anyway, the Rockies were the state’s first attempt at expanding to hockey, and it failed. They moved to New Jersey and became the Devils. From 1982 to 1994, Colorado had no pro hockey team.

However, the state had grown, and the hockey world wondered if the market had as well. There were plans to try exhibition games here to see if the market might be amenable to an expansion club.

Dagnabbit, the 1994-95 lockout ended that exhibition game dream. Colorado was supposed to host none other than the Pittsburgh Penguins, my dream team at the time. I’d never seen any hockey game live, and I was willing to break the bank to see that exhibition game.

More from Mile High Sticking

Unfortunately, because of the lockout, the preseason was cancelled, and the season proper didn’t even start until January 20, 1995.

However, in the meantime, an amazing thing happened — an IHL team came to Colorado. The Colorado Grizzlies were an expansion team that spent just one season in Colorado — a memorable season that saw them win the IHL Turner Cup in their only season here.

The Denver Grizzlies will always have a special place in my heart because that was the first professional hockey — or any hockey — I ever got to see live. Plus, the NHL lockout had one small silver lining. A few NHL players were on the roster.

Colorado Avalanche vs Quebec Nordiques

Ok, that’s enough of a stroll down memory lane. However, it does set up the background for why I take the stance I do concerning the Quebec Nordiques.

But first, the poll:

As you can see, I’m not completely alone in my apathy for the Nordiques. And the amount of Avs fans who love the Quebec franchise is only slightly larger.

Most Avs fans fall into the middling range of “very little” to “some.”

That actually makes sense. As many fans commented, it’s the team that drafted our superstar, and current GM, Joe Sakic.

Here are some more reasons:


Many current fans started in childhood, so that makes sense.

Here’s another:


That’s fair. I love to see a fan whose “heart is with the Avs.”

Here’s a great response:


“Diehard status” — I love it.

This Avs-Nords fan makes a good point:

Any time you can mess with Preds fans is a good time.

One final reason:

There’s a Quebec fan who followed the franchise.

I would have been a fan of any team that moved to Colorado or even an expansion team that won, like, two games their first season. I didn’t care — I just wanted a hockey team in Colorado. I was content with the Grizzlies, but, boy, I love my Colorado Avalanche.

Next. 5 Memorable August-Born Players. dark

But I have a newfound understanding for Avs fans attachment to the Quebec franchise. I think I’d rather see a third jersey honoring the Grizzlies than the Nordiques, but I’d be ok now with the latter.

What about you, Avs Nation? Sound off below how you feel about the Quebec Nordiques as they relate to the Colorado Avalanche.