The Colorado Avalanche players will soon be having to commute on I-25 again to get to the team’s practice facilities, and some may not be looking forward to it.
The Colorado Avalanche are not having to commute back to their practice facilities… yet. That possibility may occur sooner rather than later as the NHL has released Phase 2 of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which allows teams to open up their facilities to small groups of players.
When that happens, the players will have to travel on I-25 again. The Avalanche’s training facilities are in south Denver in a suburb called Centennial. Most players live close to downtown, which is where the Pepsi Center is located. So, they typically have to take I-25 to get to the practice facility.
Now, in the midst of the state-wide quarantine, that wouldn’t have been a problem. As the vast majority of people in Denver stayed home, traffic on I-25 was mostly non-existent. It was weird.
If you’ve never been on I-25 on a normal day — we’re not talking rush hour or a holiday weekend — you might not realize how frustrating it can be. Here’s how Avs forward Tyson Jost describes the phenomena:
"“It’s actually the most frustrating thing ever. And I don’t understand why one minute you’re stopped for five, and the next you’re flying down I-25. We need to figure this out, Denver, come on now.”"
You can anticipate some of the slow downs, like where the big exits are located. However, they also occur randomly.
Jost’s quote does bring us to a video. As part of the Ask the Avs series, the team’s social media team asked players what they thought of I-25, if they were “into it or over it.” Predictably, most were “over it” because of the traffic. Some players, like Jost, had specific reasons.
Interestingly, Cale Makar, who never has a cross word to say, could barely keep his eyes in his head they were rolling so hard as he declared:
"“I’ve barely been here a month. It’s ridiculous how much traffic there is.”"
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has even less patience than Makar. He’s “absolutely over it” after having been in Denver for only seven days! “That’s it!”
"“It’s like it’s traffic for no reason. It’s dangerous if you drive too slow.”"
Can’t relate to that. I’m usually trying to get through the corridor as fast as possible.
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Superstar Nathan MacKinnon is beside himself:
"“I spend a lot of time on there, every day, driving to Arapahoe.”"
The practice facility is off Arapahoe Road.
And our captain, Gabriel Landeskog, pretended to think about it before declaring, “I-25 is an absolute clusterf-” *cut away to next scene.
Now, the ever Zen Colin Wilson has a solution for the clusterf-, er, problem:
"“Give me a few more lanes. I just feel like that traffic shouldn’t be there.”"
Nikita Zadorov has his own… less orthodox solution:
"“Go to the exit lane and come back. Go to the exit lane and come back.”"
Head’s up, Big Z. Unless I could identify it was you, I wouldn’t let that driver back into the lane.
Now, not all players hate I-25. J.T. Compher and his cold, black stare are “indifferent” to the highway.
Little known fact that we haven’t highlighted here — forward Joonas Donskoi is a car guy. I don’t know if it’s a Finnish thing, because just like the great Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne, Donskoi is into the fast cars. So, he really doesn’t mind getting stuck in his car on the highway:
"“That’s fine. I like listening to my music in my car, so I don’t mind.”"
I mean, he drives sports cars — you’d think he’d want to fly.
Nazem Kadri, meanwhile, grew up in the big city — Toronto, specifically. So, he’s unimpressed with what I-25 has to offer:
"“It’s fine. Coming from Toronto, I really don’t think the traffic is horrendous.”"
Wison concurs. He spends his offseason in Boston — the East Coast is notorious for its bad traffic. Sure enough, Wilson doesn’t think the traffic in Denver is as bad as in Boston.
Matt Calvert had the most surprising answer of all:
"“Kind of into it because I live like right off of it. Love the traffic jams. I’m from a town of 50,000 where you can get across town in five or ten minutes, so I’ve got to say I’m into the driving.”"
Bellemare was having none of it. He was apparently sitting right next to Calvert when Matt made that declaration, and he told his then-new teammate, “Please get out.”
I’m with Belly on that one. My hometown is even smaller, but I still hate the traffic.
Here’s the video:
How about you, Avalanche fans? Do you drive on I-25 or a similarly bad highway?
Anyway, the Colorado Avalanche players will likely have a little more patience with the highway after being cooped up for three months while they travel to the practice facility again.