Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post has penned a column accusing Denver of no longer being a hockey town. What’s his evidence? Some damning attendance numbers at Pepsi Center for the past couple of years. Kiszla paints a picture of the Pepsi Center as a ghost town with a hockey game going on in the middle. Denver is shown as a city of bandwagoners that doesn’t take too kindly to a team that doesn’t have a star. Any Broncos fan of the past 30 years can tell you this isn’t the case. Terrible football ran this town, even after a couple of Cup wins by the Avs.
While the Avalanche found their place almost instantly with a championship their first year in town and another one just 5 years later, the team has ridden that success into the ground. Lazy and sometimes just nonexistent marketing is just fine when you come into town as a winner, but some effort needs to be made when the on-ice product stops doing the talking.
As Kiszla points out in his column, the “All About the A” ad campaign is a headscratcher that has given way to plenty of jokes as to what that “A” actually stands for. That just isn’t going to cut it. Who is the face of the Avalanche? Only the die-hards just thought of a name while reading that last sentence and I’m sure there were many different answers. There’s the problem! Crosby is the face of the Penguins. Ovechkin is the face of the Capitals. The Avalanche need to unite their team under the name of a player, not an arbitrary letter. When the vast majority of your players are guys that are new in town it’s a pretty hard sell.
“Did Denver ever really love the NHL? Or did the bandwagon stop when Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, Patrick Roy and Peter Forsberg got off?”
This little statement has a lot wrong with it. Denver has always loved the NHL, but right now the Avs look more like the incredibly awful Rockies of old NHL infamy. With a shaky history to start with, it’s no wonder the Avalanche are starting to crumble under the weight of old expectations. Yes, the greats of the Cup years are almost all gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s a bandwagon. It just shows that the team needs to give the fans a poster child to rally behind once again.
Kiszla is singing that same old song of the terrible Avalanche marketing, but I’m going to finish it. The Avalanche have some work to do. Billboards with Duchene, Stastny, and Foote are a great idea. Let’s introduce Denver to more than just the “A”. Let’s make the in-arena experience less of a snore. I am consistently jealous of other fans around the league and the party that seems to go on in other buildings.
Ditch the Kiss Cam. Ditch the “All Hell Broke Loose” gimmick. Ditch every overplayed little applause trigger that hasn’t seemed to change since Pepsi Center opened.
Mark alludes to the Winnipeg Avalanche, but we all know the team isn’t leaving Denver. However, if the Avs don’t do something soon, they’ll soon see their stories under a much bigger lacrosse or soccer headline in the papers.