The Colorado Avalanche will officially end training camp on Sunday with the annual Burgundy/White Game at Magness Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 1 p.m. for the intra-squad scrimmage on the University of Denver campus.
This marks the sixth time that DU has hosted the event. The home of the Pioneers hockey team also held the scrimmage in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2014. The Burgundy/White Game has also been held at the Air Force Academy (Cadet Ice Arena) and in Colorado Springs (World Arena).
The contest will feature three 20-minute periods, including stoppages and power plays. A full roster of both teams will be released Sunday morning with around 44 of the 64 players expected to dress.
After the team’s training camp activities on Saturday at Family Sports Center in Centennial, Colorado, head coach Patrick Roy previewed what fans might expect to see in the contest.
“Semyon Varlamov will play half a game with Spencer Martin,” Roy said. “And then Calvin Pickard and Reto Berra will play on the other team.”
Roy also spoke highly about Colorado’s 2015 first-round draft pick Mikko Rantanen after camp practices this week.
“He has got skills. It’s nice to see. Today I thought he brought his game to another level,” Roy said of the 18-year-old Finland native. “Tomorrow, I am going to put him [on a line] with [Gabriel] Landeskog and [Carl] Soderberg. That will be fun to watch.”
Other line combinations that Roy revealed after Saturday’s practice have Andreas Martinsen, Matt Duchene and Jarome Iginla on one line and Alex Tanguay, Mikhail Grigorenko and Nathan MacKinnon on another.
Last year, Team White outscored Team Burgundy in a 4-3 win. It was White’s first victory since 2011. Burgundy holds a 9-5 all-time record in the preseason scrimmage.
“It’s a game I look forward to every year,” said Duchene. “It’s a great chance to wear our game jersey and get to play for the fans. It’s a good, fun day. It always is.”
Last year’s Burgundy/White Game was Jarome Iginla’s first time in an Avalanche sweater.
“It will be good to get out there with refs and all the officials and stuff, and have the fans there,” said the 38-year-old veteran. “Last year was my first time there at DU. It’s a cool venue to have a game.”
Defensemen Tyson Barrie, who played in his first Burgundy/White Game in 2011, acknowledged the importance of showcasing talent in front of the fans before the season starts.
“I think it kind of kicks off our season and lets us know [the fans] are behind us, and they are excited for the season,” he said. “So it’s nice to go out and play that game. Although it’s not worth anything, it’s nice to have their support. You know we play hard for them and try to make it entertaining.”
Even though it is a friendly scrimmage, there is still competition between the players to make the Avalanche roster.
“There are obviously a lot of players that want to make this team, and it’s pretty competitive. There will definitely be a competitive edge out there,” said Gabriel Landeskog. “But it definitely is a little different lining up against your linemates and your teammates.
“It’s usually a great turn out and it’s a lot of fun. We usually do a shootout after and a lot of the fans stick around and cheer us on.”
Although the 15th annual scrimmage is not an exhibition game, it will be the same format as the preseason contest the Avalanche will play against the Anaheim Ducks two days later on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT at Pepsi Center.