Over 18-thousand fans welcomed back hockey at the Pepsi Center Tuesday night. The passionate followers and the fervent players had been separated for the better part of four months during the NHL lockout, and for one night all was right in the world.
A toothless grin was reciprocated with a warm embrace, and this was just in the stands. But who missed who more?
There was no giveaway besides the seemingly effortless transition of a line-change. No knick-knack promotion was taking place other than the tender exchange of bare knuckles. The callous efforts of owners and players alike were finally muted by the harmonious pitch of the goal horn.
The Colorado Avalanche organization rather, signed by Josh Kroenke (Governor of the Avalanche), Greg Sherman (General Manager), Joe Sacco (Head Coach) and Gabriel Landeskog (Team Captain), placed a note on each and every seat in the arena on opening night, opening up, and showing what it meant to have each other back.
“We apologize to all our fans for the lack of hockey these past four months. We appreciate and understand the hard work that must be done to win back your support and earn your trust. We do not take lightly the responsibility of ensuring that your experience exceeds the level of passion and enthusiasm that you provide our sport, team and players on a daily basis. Our slogan is WORN WITH PRIDE and we want to live up to that every night and every game on and off the ice. It’s time to focus on the future and give you the exciting hockey you deserve by playing hard and playing to win. Let’s drop the puck.”
No battle of wits, no blame spewed, and no awkward silences. It was a simple apology and more importantly, a pledge to play.