DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche officially reached the impressive milestone of 500 sellouts on Jan. 20th against the Detroit Red Wings at Pepsi Center. Team representatives presented the 500th fan that entered Pepsi Center, Mr. Ray Sherrier of Colorado Springs, with a special autographed jersey commemorating the achievement.
"Reaching the plateau of 500 sellouts is something that everyone in our organization and our fans should really be proud of," said Avalanche President Pierre Lacroix.
"This speaks to the incredible strength of this city as a hockey market and to the unique devotion of Avalanche fans," said Kroenke Sports Enterprises Executive Vice President Paul Andrews.
The Avalanche had sold out 500 of 515 (97%) total home games (including playoffs) since moving to Denver in 1995. Included in this stretch was a 487 consecutive-game sellout streak which ran from November 9, 1995 to October 14, 2006. The Avalanche sold out four games prior to the streak starting and nine games since it ended. Arena capacity for hockey was 16,061 at McNichols Arena (1995-1999) and 18,007 at Pepsi Center (1999-2007).
"Not so long ago, in 1995, this franchise moved and we started to work in a room filled with boxes. We had arrived in a booming community which welcomed us with open arms. We knew that if we could provide this market with a winning team and exciting product, they would support us. They did right from the start and continue to do so," added Lacroix.
While filling up McNichols Arena and Pepsi Center from 1995 to 2007, Avalanche fans saw their team win two Stanley Cup Championships, including the city's first major sports championship in 1996; two Presidents' Trophies; an NHL-record nine consecutive division titles; 18 of its 26 playoff series (most wins of any NHL club in that span); and make six appearances in the conference finals.
"Playing in front of sellout crowds game-in, game-out, and being able to compete for the Stanley Cup each and every year have been the key ingredients that makes playing here so exciting for the players," said Avalanche captain Joe Sakic.
Very quickly after the Avalanche arrived in Denver, the popularity of hockey grew tremendously, as hockey fans witnessed a large surge in youth and minor hockey league participation throughout Colorado. In addition, it's been estimated that the presence of the organization has generated more than $1.5 billion in economic impact for the state since 1995.
The organization has also been key contributors to charitable and community efforts in Denver and throughout the Rocky Mountain region, having eclipsed the $10 million mark in grants and donations to nearly 100 different organizations in the city during its existence. These charitable efforts were recognized nationally by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame who presented the Avalanche an award for Community Relations service in 2001.
"The Colorado Avalanche earned a special place in local history by winning our state's first national professional sports championship the year the team arrived in Denver," said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. "More than a decade and 500 sellout games later, the Avs continue to serve our community with their exciting hockey and their support for local youth literacy, arts, and fitness programs."
The team celebrated this special feat with their fans on Jan. 20 against the Red Wings with an assortment of prize giveaways from top sponsors like Coors, the Colorado Lottery, King Soopers, Key Bank, Frontier, Best Buy and XM Satellite Radio to name a few. In addition, one lucky fan had a chance to shoot a puck to win a car from Chrysler.
The Avs' Better Halves continued their charity fund-raising efforts by selling t-shirts signed by an Avalanche player commemorating the achievement.