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Colorado Avalanche History.

Colorado Avalanche, professional ice hockey team and one of five teams in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche play at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, and wear uniforms of burgundy, blue, black, white, and silver. Originally the Québec Nordiques, the team was purchased by the Denver-based COMSAT Entertainment Group, Inc., in 1995 and moved to Denver. Its name was decided through a poll taken by COMSAT.

Under the direction of head coach Marc Crawford and led by centers Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup championship in 1996, their first season after moving to Denver from Québec City, Québec, Canada. During the 1980s Québec had assembled several strong teams. The Czechoslovakian-born Stastny brothers—Anton, Marian, and Peter—played side by side for several seasons as Nordiques.

The Québec Nordiques were founding members of the 12-team World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972. They earned division titles and reached the league finals in 1975 and 1977, coming away with the WHA championship in their second attempt. Centers Serge Bernier and Christian Bordeleau and wings Real “Buddy” Cloutier and Marc Tardif all ranked among the league’s top ten scorers in the 1976-77 season.

In 1979 Québec joined the NHL after the WHA disbanded. They finished in last position in their division in 1980 but then made seven consecutive playoff appearances under head coach Michel Bergeron, a former NHL wing. Bergeron’s lineup was led by left wing Michel Goulet and center Peter Stastny. In 1981 Stastny was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, and his total of 109 points in the 1980-81 season was a record for a first-year player. From 1981 to 1985 Stastny played alongside his brothers Anton and Marian, who were both wings. In the 1981-82 season the trio led the Nordiques to the Eastern Conference Finals. There the team lost to the New York Islanders, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. In 1985 goalies Dan Bouchard, Mario Gosselin, and Clint Malarchuk anchored one of the league’s finest defenses, and Québec again reached the Eastern Conference Finals, this time losing to the Philadelphia Flyers.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the team’s performance declined, and not until the 1992-93 season did Quebec return to the playoffs. Under the direction of head coach Pierre Page, the Nordiques compiled a team-record 47 victories in the regular season. The lineup revolved around Joe Sakic, goalie Stephane Fiset, and right wing Owen Nolan. During the 1994-95 season the Nordiques won their division, this time under head coach Marc Crawford, a former Vancouver Canucks left wing. Crawford won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year and Peter Forsberg was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. The team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Before the 1995-96 season the Nordiques moved to Denver, switched to the NHL’s Western Conference, and were renamed the Colorado Avalanche.

Under the direction of general manager Pierre Lacroix, the Avalanche assembled a well-balanced attack in their inaugural season. Goalie Patrick Roy, who was acquired from the Montréal Canadiens, led the defense. Offensively, Sakic and Forsberg ranked third and fifth in the league in scoring, respectively. Right wing Claude Lemieux, who had come to the Avalanche after helping the New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup in 1995, scored ten game-winning goals. In the playoffs the Avalanche advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they defeated the Florida Panthers in four straight games, becoming the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup upon moving to a new city. Sakic received the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player (MVP) of the playoffs. The Avalanche reached the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the next four seasons, going as far as the conference finals in 1999. Colorado returned to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2001, where they defeated the New Jersey Devils for the franchise's second championship.

 
Aebischer
David
Goal Colorado Avalanche $2,500,000.00
Blake
Robert
Defence Colorado Avalanche $8,349,375.00
Boughner
Bob
Defence Colorado Avalanche $1,250,000.00
Brigley
Travis
Left Wing Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Clark
Brett
Defence Colorado Avalanche $500,000.00
Cummins
Jim
Right Wing Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Damphousse
Vincent
Centre Colorado Avalanche $2,000,000.00
Foote
Adam
Defence Colorado Avalanche $4,400,000.00
Forsberg
Peter
Centre Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Gratton
Chris
Centre Colorado Avalanche $1,500,000.00
Hahl
Riku
Centre Colorado Avalanche $423,500.00
Hejduk
Milan
Right Wing Colorado Avalanche $5,700,000.00
Hendrickson
Darby
Centre Colorado Avalanche $500,000.00
Hinote
Dan
Right Wing Colorado Avalanche $770,000.00
Kariya
Paul
Left Wing Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Konowalchuk
Steve
Left Wing Colorado Avalanche $2,500,000.00
Laaksonen
Antti
Left Wing Colorado Avalanche $850,000.00
Laperriere
Ian
Right Wing Colorado Avalanche $1,300,000.00
Liles
John-Michael
Defence Colorado Avalanche $600,000.00
McLean
Brett
Centre Colorado Avalanche $550,000.00
Moore
Steve
Centre Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Nikolishin
Andrei
Centre Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Sakic
Joe
Centre Colorado Avalanche $8,740,939.00
Salo
Tommy
Goal Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Sauer
Kurt
Defence Colorado Avalanche $1,102,000.00
Selanne
Teemu
Right Wing Colorado Avalanche Unsigned
Skrastins
Karlis
Defence Colorado Avalanche $1,875,000.00
Tanguay
Alex
Left Wing Colorado Avalanche $4,250,000.00
Vaananen
Ossi
Defence Colorado Avalanche $1,000,000.00
Worrell
Peter
Left Wing Colorado Avalanche $880,000.00

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