While the team experienced on ice success, it struggled financially. Quebec City was by far the smallest market in the league, and the second smallest to host a team in the four major sports. The changing financial environment in the NHL made things even more difficult, and in 1995 team owner Marcel Aubut asked for a bailout from Quebec’s provincial government as well as a new publicly funded arena. The bailout fell through and Aubut subsequently sold the team to COMSAT Entertainment Group of Denver, which already owned the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. In May 1995, the COMSAT Entertainment Group announced an agreement in principle to purchase the team. The deal became official on July 1, 1995, and 12,000 season tickets were sold in the 37 days after the announcement of the move to Denver. The franchise was presented as the Colorado Avalanche on August 10, 1995.
The 1996 Stanley Cup Final was the NHL championship series of the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs contested between the Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche and the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers, two teams in the Final for the first time and that did not exist only three seasons before. It was Colorado’s first appearance in the Final, in only their first season in Denver since moving from Quebec City in 1995. It was Florida’s first appearance in the Final, in only the franchise’s third season since entering the NHL in 1993. Only two other teams have made their first Stanley Cup Final appearance faster: the St. Louis Blues in their debut season in 1967 – 1968, and the 1928 Cup winning New York Rangers. Colorado defeated Florida in a four game sweep to win their first Stanley Cup becoming the seventh post 1967 expansion team and the second former WHA team after the Edmonton Oilers to win the Cup. Colorado’s Joe Sakic earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 1996 Playoffs.
Mr. E. Stanley Kroenke became owner of the Colorado Avalanche on July 6, 2000. In the team’s first season under his ownership, the Avalanche hosted the NHL All-Star Game, won the Presidents’ Trophy, and defeated the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup, the second in franchise history (1996).
Under Kroenke’s ownership the team has won four division championships, and during his first five years of ownership the Avalanche sold out every home game and went on to post an NHL-record 487 consecutive game sellout streak.
The 2001 Stanley Cup Finals was the NHL championship series of the 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs contested between the Eastern Conference champion and defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils and the Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche. It was Colorado’s second appearance in the Final, and the first since the team won the Cup in 1996. It was New Jersey’s third appearance in the Final and second straight appearance after winning the Cup in the 2000 Final. Colorado defeated New Jersey in seven games to win their second Stanley Cup in franchise history. Colorado’s Patrick Roy would win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 2001 Playoffs. This was the first Stanley Cup Final since 1994 that would be decided in the maximum seven games. This is also the first and, as of 2012, most recent Finals since 1989 that the number one seeds in each conference have met.
The Colorado Avalanche are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver, Colorado. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche are the only team in their division not based in the Central Time Zone; the team is situated in the Mountain Time Zone.
Quebec City – Denver
1980 – Present / National Hockey League
1972 – 1979 / World Hockey Association
1995 – Present / Colorado Avalanche
1972 – 1995 / Quebec Nordiques
Avalanche – Rockies, the nickname for Colorado’s hockey team that left for New Jersey in 1982, had been adopted by Denver’s baseball team by the time the Quebec Nordiques left Canada for the Front Range in 1995. Management originally wanted to name the team Extreme, but received all sorts of negative feedback, and justifiably so. Avalanche, which eventually beat out Black Bears, Outlaws, Storm, Wranglers, Renegades, Rapids, and Cougars, drew some criticism, as well, given their deadly nature. A representative from the team replied: “This is the NHL, a rough and tough sport, and Avalanche is something that matches the ‘on the edge’ feel they want to create. Hey, Cougars and Bears kill people, too. People shouldn’t get so excited about Avalanche being a disrespectful name or something. It’s just a name.”
Stanley Cup 2
Avco Cup 0
1999 – Present / Pepsi Center
1995 – 1999 / McNichols Sports Arena
1972 – 1995 / Colisée de Québec
2014 – Present / Ann Walton Kroenke
2000 – 2014 / E. Stanley Kroenke
1995 – 2000 / Charlie Lyons
1990 – 1995 / Marcel Aubut
1978 – 1990 / Carling – O’Keefe Brewery
1972 – 1978 / Quebec Remparts
19 / Joe Sakic
21 / Peter Forsberg
23 / Milan Hejduk
33 / Patrick Roy
52 / Adam Foote
77 / Ray Bourque
99 / Wayne Gretzky
*Blue is this team’s history