The 2016-17 season was the worst season since the Avalanche moved to Colorado. They finished last overall in the entire NHL. This season just gone however, hockey was on the rise again as the ECHL affiliate to the avalanche the Colorado Eagles managed to win the playoffs and take the Kelly cup.
The 2017-18 season was a vast improvement. The Avalanche moved from last the previous year to finishing 8th in their conference and made the playoffs.
Colorado’s ECHL affiliate The Eagles made the playoffs for a second year running, giving themselves a chance to retain the Kelly cup with a series against the Florida Everblades.
The final series, which went down the game seven, was a close game. In the final period, with two goals a piece, the Everblades got a power-play. In the final minutes of the game Florida’s Verplaest took a pass in his own zone, skating Coast to coast and slotting the puck into the net glove side for the eventual game winning goal. Taking the Kelly Cup for the second season for the Colorado Eagles.
Well done to all at the Eagles such a great achievement. I only hope that the Avalanche will continue to go from strength to strength in the coming season. The Eagles will be moving up into the AHL next season after finalising a 10 year deal with the Avalanche.
The Eagles GM and CEO Martin Lind had the following to say “We have had one of the most harmonious relationships you can imagine, This is the pinnacle of minor league sports. There’s no doubt this is going to be a game changer for Northern Colorado.”
Avalanche vice-president Stan Kroenke said “It’s a home run to have your minor league team 50 minutes up the road, It’s perfect for development. We’ll have more hands-on opportunities for our young players. It’s a perfect set up.”
The Avalanche will now take over primary control of the roster and coaching staff but both will work very closely together to make sure everything is in place for a good and successful first season in the AHL.
The other issue that will need addressing is the Budweiser events centre where the Eagles play their home games. It needs upgrading to follow the standards of AHL in the NHL.
Martin Lind had this to say about it “Facilities for the AHL are demanding. It needs to be NHL quality, period. Because those kids are going right into the NHL locker room,” Lind said. “We want to have something that is the very best in class.”