The Colorado Press | What is left of the Nordics

(Denver) A wise colleague once told this author, while grieving the death of one of her cats, that adopting animals because of their short life expectancy was tantamount to a broken heart. Unless, of course, you adopt a bowhead whale or a Galapagos tortoise.

Posted at 7:00 am

Guillaume Lefrançois

Guillaume Lefrançois
The press

But we digress.

Looking for clues in the history of the Nordiques in Denver, that’s a bit like it: the certainty of coming out disappointed, not to say sad.

Obviously, within the team we will understand that 27 years after the move, there are fewer and fewer Quebec survivors. In fact, only two remain: Matthew Sokolowski, a senior sports therapist who worked in Quebec for a year, and a public relations specialist who became a consultant. We might add Joe Sakic, but his employment was suspended for two years between his retirement as a player and his appointment as councilman and governor.

No photos from the time of the Nordiques in the aisles of the ball arena. A Denver colleague thinks he saw one near the Avalanche locker room, but his memories are hazy because the location has been closed to journalists since March 2020.


Photo Guillaume LeFrancois, La Presse

Jerseys were retired at the Ball Arena in Denver

No trace of the numbers 3 (Jean-Claude Tremblay), 8 (Marc Tardif), 16 (Michel Goulet) and 26 (Peter Stastny) on the ceiling. The 8 may end up there one day, mind you, but it will be named Cale Makar.

However, the Avalanche aren’t the only team doing this. In Arizona, Ryan Dzingel and Anthony Duclair were allowed to wear the number 10 that Dale Hawerchuk had before moving to Winnipeg. However, Hawerchuk was immortalized in the ring of honor at the Gila River Arena, from which the Coyotes were just being driven out.

We go to the souvenir shop and there we see the first logos of the Nordiques. But you have to search. A scarf, a pair of socks, a cotton towel… The clerk shows us a jacket in a corner. And the service vests? We see a lot of them in the stands during games!

“We do not have any more. We got a few during the season and it sold out so quickly,” he explains, snapping his fingers to show his point.

Gossip would say that Nordic nostalgia is appreciated when it sells goods, but let’s not go there.

Then, like a godsend, we discover the existence of a street called Quebec in Denver. Allusion to the Nordics? Cruel way to turn the iron in the wound of the team’s former supporters? Let’s see.

Quebec Street is not in front of the door. It takes a good thirty minutes by bus from the city center to get there. Still, the ride is entertaining. Everyone greets each other and seems to know each other.


Photo Guillaume LeFrancois, La Presse

On board bus 43

Oh yeah… and Shea Weber is traded on the go. We still owe Brother Simon-Olivier a big debt of gratitude for taking over, because when he got off the bus it was so hot that the phone suffered heat stroke, which disabled certain functions such as the internet. Bye, bye, video conference from Kent Hughes.

We then feel at the peak of usefulness at work, lost in the suburbs, in 35C, photographing the equivalent of Boulevard Tricentenaire in Pointe-aux-Trembles, on a street that clearly has no connection to Quebec, though she real is hockey news happening.


Photo Guillaume LeFrancois, La Presse

Shopping center on Quebec Street

“Quebec Street is in an area where the streets are arranged alphabetically, 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, the second after a plant. »

The two names chosen were therefore Quince (meaning “quince”, the fruit of the quince tree) and Quebec. “Due to the lack of places beginning with the letter Q, Quebec’s choice seems logical,” Mr. Goodstein continues.

“And it’s probably a coincidence, but just east of Quebec Street, on the site of a former military base, an area is being revitalized to include a gym and hockey rink. »

Our bus route took us a few kilometers north of said sector, so unfortunately no photo of the arena. However, the journey took us to Station 26, the microbrewery mentioned on Saturday’s postcard. At least the beer was good.


Photo Guillaume LeFrancois, La Presse

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