Eurolanche lands in Sweden for Global Series
Avalanche fan club has big plans for two games against Senators in StockholmNHL.com @NHLdotcom
STOCKHOLM -- It's the Eurolanche raid, Stockholm style.
The Eurolanche, a Colorado Avalanche fan club comprised of 788 registered members from 43 countries and six continents, has made its way to Sweden for the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series Games at Ericsson Globe.
The members usually get a group together to travel to Denver for several Avalanche games each hockey season, but 57 of them, from 10 different countries, came here this week to make sure their favorite team feels at home.
The Avalanche and Ottawa Senators play Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHL Network, TSN5, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV) and Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHL Network, SN, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV).
"It started in 2007," said Eurolanche president and founder David Puchovsky, who is from Bratislava, Slovakia. "I was 17 so I spent the whole day on message boards and chatting with other fans. Back at that time it was hard to follow the Avalanche because there were no services like NHL.TV. I wanted to unite everyone in Europe, so I founded this fan club and from year to year it has developed even more.
"We made our first trip to Denver in 2008 and since then almost every year we go back."
The Eurolanche members in Stockholm this week hail from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Crotia and the United States.
Video: Dan Rosen and Amalie Benjamin on Global Series
Many met in Prague and flew into town together on Wednesday. The majority are staying in the same Stokholm hotel, not far from Ericsson Globe.
They have been around town taking pictures, touring and meeting Avalanche players, including former forward and Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg.
They have planned what they're calling the March of the Colorado Avalanche Fans for Friday.
Weather permitting, they'll meet at the Gamla Stan metro station and walk seven miles to Ericsson Globe. The members are encouraged to wear their Avalanche jerseys, wave their flags and bring all kinds of noisemakers like rattles, whistles and drums.
Michal Hezely, a member from Slovakia, won't be joining them. Hezely has been credentialed by the NHL to cover the Global Series games as a media member, writing for the Eurolanche website.
Even though he's had to trade in his jersey and noisemakers for a suit and a notepad, he said the opportunity to bring news of the team to the Eurolanche members is one he couldn't pass up.
"It's really the experience of a lifetime," said Hezely, who also serves as an editor for the website.
Puchovsky said he became an Avalanche fan when he was 10 because one of his closest friends also picked them as his favorite team. He didn't see his first Avalanche game on television until he was 13.
"So three years without knowing a face on the team," he said. "I had no internet so I just followed the results on Teletext, just stats, nothing concrete, no pictures. That was like the internet for me back then."
As the fan club has grown, Puchovsky said running it has become almost a second job for him. His full-time job is an administrator in charge of social media for the Slovak police force.
Video: Duchene's potential impact on the Sweden game
Eurolanche put out a book last year celebrating its 10th anniversary. That it coincided with the Avalanche's worst season in history was unfortunate. He said members of the club were in Denver last season for seven games and did not see an Avalanche win.
Puchovsky, though, said he sees brighter days ahead for his team.
"It's nothing special that happened only to the Avalanche," Puchovsky said. "Hopefully, it's behind us and we will never see this back in our life."