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Stadium Series

Pregame atmosphere at Stadium Series is super

Avalanche, Red Wings fans ready for big night

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- The scene outside Coors Field on Saturday was abuzz with energy as hockey fans wearing NHL jerseys and caps took part in a number of family-friendly interactive games and attractions while listening to live music.

Spectator Plaza on Blake Street, a two-day hockey-themed festival, was free to fans as part of the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings.

"This is crazy, I didn't have a clue it was going to be this big," Devon Pieper said as an Avalanche-clad marching band performed nearby. "When I got tickets a couple months back it was, 'This'll be great, we get to see a game at Coors Field.' And now we find out there's bands playing, all kinds of stuff."

Pieper, who lives in Longmont, Colo., wore an Avalanche jersey, as did his sister, Kelli Jones.

"There's a ton of people out here, it's great," he said. "I played hockey when I was younger and I grew up with Red Wings fans; my dad is from Michigan. So it took a couple years to make the conversion over to a true Avalanche fan."

Jones said the scene reminded her of the Denver Broncos' Super Bowl parade earlier this month.

"I was at the parade," she said. "I wanted to do this for my birthday. I asked my dad to get me a ticket and he said no. A week ago my mom told me I could go, so it's pretty exciting."

Bryan and Michelle Crandall made the trip from Detroit to watch the alumni game Friday and the regular-season game Saturday. They were impressed by how polite Coloradans were when they visited various parts of the city wearing red-and-white Red Wings jerseys.

"Pleasantly surprised," Michelle Crandall said. "Growing up in the thick of the '90s rivalry, I kind of thought the people would be mean to us here. The people are nice, the city is nice, it's clean. People keep saying to me, 'Oh, the rivalry is dead.' I don't understand why they think that."

The Crandalls arrived in Denver on Thursday and will head home Sunday with a more tolerant view of Avalanche fans.

"Everything's cool, we're having a good time here," Bryan Crandall said. "First time we've been in Denver and it's pretty nice. We went to the [alumni] game Friday and it's a little disappointing that we lost. Hopefully we get them tonight."

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