Some Colorado Avalanche players who participated just in team workouts instead of full practice went on to do community outreach during their limited time off.
The Colorado Avalanche held an optional practice today. Only three players participated — Calle Rosen, Vladislav Kamenev, and Philipp Grubauer. Cale Makar skated before practice in no-contact red.
So, the day was more or less free for the Avs players. Well, three of them participated in community outreach programs on their own time. One was our captain, Gabriel Landeskog. His participation is no surprise because he’s active in community outreach.
Landeskog attended a Bell Dedication Ceremony at UCHealth which was from the team’s Hockey Fights Cancer Game. Survivors ring the bell after they’ve finished treatment. (My mom just rang the bell at a facility down in Pueblo. #F*ckCancer.)
As part of his visit, he went around and talked with patients. He even went to visit some in the infusion center, which couldn’t have been easy.
This year’s Hockey Fights Cancer was on November 23 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The players skated in lavender jerseys — Andre Burakovsky also wore a HFC cap backwards — which were then put up for auction to further raise funds for cancer survivors. Before the game, survivors who also happen to be hockey players skated out to join the starters for the National Anthems.
Part of fan participation included making cards of encouragement for people fighting cancer. Landeskog delivered those during his visit:
I can’t speak from experience, but the patients seem to really enjoy visits from the players. However, some patients are legitimately fans on their own terms:
Gabe made a lot of visits during his time at UCHealth.
I like how the Colorado Avalanche social media team thanks the the patients. It puts the correct level of gravitas on the situation, in my opinion. (Also, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — our captain is the best captain.)
Meanwhile, a less grave event featured a man named Graves — Ryan Graves and Tyson Jost attended a TeamFIT event, presented by Ardent Mills, which aims to promote exercise and other healthful behaviors in children.
This particular Team FIT event was with a class of fifth-graders. Tyson Jost led the youngsters in some exercises:
Feel the burn in the thighs!
No, really, Jost and the kids are getting a pretty good workout:
That girl just to his left needs a little work on form, but, boy, has she got energy! Ah, to be a kid again.
Ryan Graves was a little lower-impact. He presided over a game of soccer:
Obligatory comment: Ryan Graves is so tall, which is heightened by his being around children.
For being so tall (6-foot-5), Graves is apparently bad at basketball:
I don’t know — he looks pretty good to me:
Anyway, at the end of the afternoon, Graves and Jost participated in a question and answer session with the children. Apparently one of the questions was what the players eat for breakfast:
I have to admit, that’s a pretty good question. Also, apparently the workout was quite invigorating — Jost appeared to have lost enough weight that he has to hold his pants up.
In the following video, Jost goes into more detail about what he likes to eat for breakfast — apparently an omelette with vegetables, including sweet potatoes, bread, and oatmeal:
Oh, to be a 21-year-old with the metabolism of a professional athlete.
Some final shots from the TeamFIT event:
I know all teams participate in community outreach events. However, the Colorado Avalanche do so on a very regular basis. Even their AHL affiliates, the Colorado Eagles, get in on the fun:
The Avalanche players, like all professional hockey players, have precious little time during the season. Not counting optional off days like today, they get just four days off a month. I think it speaks to the character of the players who participate in such events during their dear free time.