The Press in Colorado |  What remains of the Norse

The Press in Colorado | What remains of the Norse

(Denver) A wise colleague once told this author, grieving the death of one of her cats, that adopting animals is equivalent, due to their short life expectancy, to ensuring a broken heart. Unless, of course, you adopt a Greenland whale or Galapagos tortoise.

Posted at 7:00 am

Guillaume Lefrancois

Guillaume Lefrancois
Press

But we got sidetracked.

Going in search of a trace of the history of the Nordics in Denver is also a bit like that: the certainty of leaving disappointed, not to say saddened.

Obviously, within the team, we will understand that 27 years after the move, there are fewer and fewer survivors from Quebec. In fact, there are only two left: Matthew Sokolowski, chief sports therapist, who worked for a year in Quebec, as well as a public relations specialist turned consultant. We could add Joe Sakic, but his employment relationship broke down for two years between his retirement as a player and his hiring as a councilman and governor.

In the halls of the Ball Arena, no photos from the time of the Norse. A Denver colleague thinks he saw one near the Avalanche locker room, but memories of him are hazy as the place has been inaccessible to reporters since March 2020.


Photo Guillaume LeFrançois, La Presse

Retired Jerseys at Ball Arena, Denver

On the ceiling, no trace of the numbers 3 (Jean-Claude Tremblay), 8 (Marc Tardif), 16 (Michel Goulet) and 26 (Peter Stastny). The 8 may well end up there one day, yes, but it will be with the name of Cale Makar.

That said, the Avalanche isn’t the only team to do this. In Arizona, Ryan Dzingel and Anthony Duclair were allowed to wear the number 10 Dale Hawerchuk owned in Winnipeg before the move. Hawerchuk, however, was immortalized in the ring of honor at the Gila River Arena, where the Coyotes were just kicked out.

We go to the souvenir shop, and that’s where we see the first Nordiques logos. But you have to search. A scarf, a pair of socks, a cotton diaper… The shop assistant points to a jacket in a corner. And the official vests? We see a lot of them in the stands during matches!

“We do not have any more. We received some during the season and they sold out very quickly,” he explains, snapping his fingers to back up his point.

Gossipmongers would say that Nordic nostalgia is valued when it sells merchandise, but let’s not go there.

Then, as a gift from heaven, we discovered the existence of a street called Quebec, in Denver. Nod to the Nordics? Cruel way to put the iron in the wound of the former fan of the team? We’ll see.

Quebec Street is not at the door. From the center it takes a good thirty minutes by bus to get there. The ride is, however, entertaining. Everyone greets each other, they seem to know each other.


Photo Guillaume LeFrançois, La Presse

On board bus 43

Oh yeah… and Shea Weber swaps during the trip. We still owe a great debt to Brother Simon-Olivier for taking over, because once he got off the bus, it was so hot that the phone suffered from heat stroke, which disabled certain functions, such as the Internet. Goodbye, Kent Hughes videoconference.

So we feel at the height of usefulness at work, lost in the suburbs, at 35°C, photographing the equivalent of Boulevard Tricentenaire in Pointe-aux-Trembles, on a street that clearly has no Sacrificial link to Quebec, while that real hockey news is happening.


Photo Guillaume LeFrançois, La Presse

shopping mall on quebec street

“Quebec Street is located in an area where the streets are in alphabetical order, with two streets for each letter, explains Phil Goodstein, author and local historian. The first street is named after a person, literary figure, or geographical location, and the second after a plant. »

Therefore, the two names selected were Quince (meaning “quince”, the fruit of the quince) and Quebec. “Because of the scarcity of places beginning with the letter Q, the choice of Quebec seems logical,” continues Mr. Goodstein.

“And it’s probably a coincidence, but just east of Quebec Street, on the grounds of a former military base, there is an area that is being revitalized, which includes a gymnasium and a hockey rink. »

Our bus route took us several kilometers north of that sector, so unfortunately there are no photos of the sand. However, the trip introduced us to Station 26, the microbrewery mentioned in Saturday’s postcard. At least the beer was good.


Photo Guillaume LeFrançois, La Presse


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