The Colorado Avalanche are teasing wearing the Quebec jerseys next season. Past that we don’t know much, but speculation is always fun.
The Colorado Avalanche should pay tribute to their former city.
It isn’t mandatory for a franchise who obtained a team from another city to pay tribute to the team’s former city. In fact, it is rarely done. If a team is moving from one location to another there are usually several reasons why, with most of them revolving around lack of interest from the general public which leads to financial struggles. Part of this is true for why the Nordiques moved from Quebec to Colorado, but it wasn’t for a lack of interest. Oddly enough, that interest in the Nordiques has remained with the franchise within the people of Colorado.
For as long as the Avalanche have been the Avalanche there has always been this underlying effort from the fans to get the front office to incorporate the Nordiques style into the Avalanche style. I’ve heard everything from a small nod to the Nordiques and their logo somewhere within the Avs logo or on the sweater as a shoulder patch to the much larger demand of overhauling the team colors to that of the Nordiques powder blue, red and white while keeping the Avalanche logo unchanged.
The one thing that has been consistent through the Avs time in Colorado was while the fans have been steadfast in their hunger to pay tribute to the team from Quebec, the front office has done the same in not incorporating the Nordiques into the Avalanche franchise. Until now. Recently senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, Declan Bolger, said the following
"“Next year is the team’s 25th anniversary season. I think there is an opportunity. We’ve talked about it, but the opportunity has not arose up to now.”"
Better late than never right? What Bolger is referring to specifically is the Avalanche not just having a small tribute to the Nordiques, but wearing the Nords threads in full sometime next season. If you’re like me you are asking yourself what arose for the front office to talk about finally giving the Quebec team it’s due? Well, Bolger went on.
"“Up to now, we have not had a uniform that has incorporated the Nordiques, but it is clear other clubs like Carolina have recently leaned into their past. You look in the media guide and how the Nordiques records are included with the Avalanche’s records, we certainly do acknowledge the Nordiques. We have been back there twice for exhibition games. It’s something we have leaned into instead of away from.”"
Basically, it has worked for other teams so why don’t we do it? Which is a little upsetting personally. I would like it if the Colorado Avalanche were a little more proactive in this regard and not need the success from another franchise doing it for them to see that it will get a positive response. Go to an Avalanche game and you are bound to see hundreds of people sporting Nordiques jerseys. The same can’t be said for Hurricane games.
Regardless, we are finally going to see our Colorado Avalanche play in Quebec Nordiques uniforms. We know it will be for next season but don’t know when or for how many games, but we can speculate. So, why don’t we?
Personally, I would like to see the Nordiques jerseys as many times as possible. Having not seen them for so many years it would be great for the Avs to name these their third jersey for the 2020-2021 season replacing their current third jersey. That would mean the Avalanche would wear the Quebec uniform for all their home division games.
Some might argue that this might water down the appeal wearing the Quebec jersey would have and by the end of the year the nostalgia factor is gone. I can see that argument, but why not think even beyond next season. Why does this need to be a one off? Wear it for the home division games next season then bring it back once a year for all the seasons that follow.
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I am a realist however and after finally bringing the Quebec Nordiques uniforms into the mix after 25 years, it is difficult to assume the Avs front office would go for broke and allow the team to wear the Nords uniforms for anything more than a single game. Coupled with the quote above from Bolger taking a page from the Carolina Hurricanes, who only wore them once this past season, and the Avs are likely to do the same.
So which game would they choose to play as the Colorado Nordiques? Naturally, our minds would go to a division game. It would make some sense. Those are the most meaningful games throughout the year and the games where the most eyes are watching. However, if the Stadium Series games involving the Avalanche have told us anything it’s that fans will have interest in a special event no matter the opponent.
This isn’t to say the Avs won’t choose wisely when they pick which game the uniform will be worn. I just think a division game is the easy choice, and if there is already enough interest in division games anyway, why not pick a game where the masses outside of the Avalanche might want to tune in.
Before we dive in let’s get one thing out of the way. The idea being thrown around the Avs and Hurricanes should play each other while the Avs wear the Nordiques uniforms and the Canes wear the Whalers is a terrible, terrible idea. After waiting 25 years for this moment do Avalanche fans really want to share it with another franchise? Not me.
In my opinion the answer on who to play this game against is quite obvious. The Montreal Canadiens. In terms of location it’s the closest city in relation to Quebec and even though this game in all likelihood will take place in Denver, a team that is near the city from where your team originated from makes sense. Again, if the Avalanche are looking to the Hurricanes as a blueprint, the Canes wore their Whalers uniforms against the Boston Bruins which was close to Hartford.
Second, it’s an Eastern Conference team which broadens the overall fan appeal of the game. Montreal fans travel well and they have a large fanbase who would love to tune into a game featuring a team they used to know all too well.
Third, not only is it an Eastern Conference team but it’s a team from Canada. If you are taking this idea on to honor the former team’s uniforms and city which was from Canada, playing a Canadian team is a no brainer. This needs to be a league-wide event and not including a team from Canada just wouldn’t have the same appeal if the Avs played this game against Anaheim (no disrespect Ducks fans!)
Finally. It’s an Original Six team and the Nordiques’ rival. Adding an Original Six team to the matchup just feels like the cherry on top, and because it happens to be the old rival of the Nordiques only strengthens the argument (side note, the Bruins were the Whalers rival as well). While all games throughout a given season are important, when the Avalanche and the Canadiens play it isn’t one that is typically circled when the schedule is released. This would be for all the right reasons.
I said earlier I would love it if the Avalanche substituted their third jersey in place of the Nordiques jersey for the duration of the 2020-2021 season. There is only one scenario in which wearing them only once would hold more weight and have more meaning than wearing them multiple times throughout the season. Wearing them the one time they play the Montreal Canadiens in Denver is the only scenario.