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Centennial Fan Arena

NHL Centennial Fan Arena makes stop in Colorado

Fans flock to interactive exhibit, take photos with Stanley Cup

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- When Jon Crenshaw and his son Matthew, 10, heard the Stanley Cup would be at the Pepsi Center this weekend as part of the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, they made the 45-mile trip from Loveland, Colo., for the chance to see it in person and take some selfies.

"Really shiny," said Matthew, whose favorite player is Avalanche center Matt Duchene. "My dad really wanted us to see it. We were looking at all the Avs on it. Maybe next time we'll see Matt Duchene's name. That would be awesome."

The interactive traveling exhibit is visiting all NHL markets across North America in 2017 as part of the League's Centennial Celebration festivities to honor a century's worth of extraordinary players, teams, remarkable plays and unforgettable moments.

The exhibit, free of charge and open to the public, runs Friday and Saturday.

"We've been lucky to provide opportunities for our fans to check out various trophies, including the Stanley Cup, over the last couple of seasons," Avalanche marketing manager Meredith Lavery said. "The fans just love it, it's a special trophy in itself. I'd say it's the most special trophy in all of sports."

Fans also lined up to enter a 53-foot museum truck that features more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, historical memorabilia, and unique photo moments. A second trailer, with a giant video screen showing Avalanche highlights and posing trivia questions, also includes a pop-up ball hockey rink, and a Clear the Ice Zamboni, a virtual reality experience where fans compete in a race to resurface the ice.

"I thought it was especially important for Matthew to check out all the memorabilia," said Jon Crenshaw, who became an Avalanche fan after moving from Salt Lake City 10 years ago. "I'm sort of a history buff, so seeing everything here is really special."

Avalanche players Tyson Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon made appearances on Friday. Former Avalanche players Milan Hejduk, Ken Klee and Pierre Turgeon will sign autographs on Saturday.

"We're really lucky to have such a hockey presence in Colorado," Lavery said. "I'm really happy that we're able to celebrate 100 years of hockey with our fans. The museum, I would say, is the crown jewel of the entire event. It has so much history; you can see the evolution of the equipment from 50 years ago, 100 years ago, and what the players are wearing today. It's awesome to see how the game has evolved and it's really special to see where it's rooted, the tradition."

Colorado weather at this time of year can be extremely unpredictable, but fans were enjoying 60-degree temperatures and mostly sunny skies Friday. Conditions should be similar on Saturday.

"I've been crossing my fingers for about 2 1/2 months now," Lavery said. "With Colorado you never know. It could be a foot of snow on the ground or 60 and sunny. Thankfully, we got the latter. We lucked out last year with the Stadium Series game at Coors Field, too."

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