Sunday, March 31, 2013

Scenes From the Road: Denver

I had the opportunity to travel out to Denver for a quick trip to watch the Predators play the Avalanche on Saturday. It is always fun and interesting to travel to other arenas and meet the fans of other teams.

I have been to 22 arenas to see the Preds play, and Pred fans, here is something that we should always keep in mind:

We have it really good here in Smashville.

Although we may not agree with every management decision or pregame intro, or whatever, we are fortunate to have an active, community oriented, and fan sensitive group in the owners boxes and front office.

That is not always the case for other fan bases.

The reputation of the Predators not only as a good hockey club but a fan friendly team has been echoed to me in many different venues, and Denver was no different.

Here are some scenes from the road trip:

One of the great aspects of Twitter is that it unites hockey fans from all over the country. Here, I am with Courtney Beckham, a fan of the Avs that has communicated with me for several years via Twitter. I was fortunate to meet her before the game and talk about the Avs, the Predators, and hockey in our respective markets. She is a passionate hockey fan, a gracious hostess, and a wonderful person.

The Cherry Cricket was around the corner from the team hotel in the Cherry Creek area of Denver. The sports bar is a popular place with a hockey rink on the ceiling that has been signed by various players from visiting teams (none by Predator players). The Cherry Creek area is a walkable neighborhood with high end shopping, eclectic local shops, and a multitude of restaurants.

A view of the Pepsi Center from across the parking lot. It was sunny and 60 for game day, but notice the piles of snow in the foreground. It had snowed 8" on the previous Sunday in the Denver area. Downtown Denver is to the right. Mile High Stadium is approximately a half mile the other way (behind this camera shot) from the Pepsi Center.

A closer shot of the main entrance to the Pepsi Center. My friend and fellow road warrior Mark Blake is to the left. Courtney is in the foreground having donned a Sakic Nordiques sweater.

This sculpture hangs from the ceiling at the main entrance to the Pepsi Center. A group of hockey players is at the top, a couple of baseball players, and a basketball player.

A view of the interior of the Pepsi Center before puck drop. The facility was very well maintained and was spotless. There were an abundance of customer service personnel throughout the concourses to answer questions and assist fans.

The Avalanche jerseys that have been retired. Certainly can't disagree with the decision to retire any of those numbers.

The division, conference, and Stanley Cup championship banners. I am ready to see some of those hanging from the rafters at Bridgestone.

The anthem before the start of the game. It was an interesting crowd, lacking energy until late in the third period and especially in the overtime.

My view of Pekka Rinne from my seat just before the start of the second period.

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