Prior to taking his talents to the NHL, center Joe Colborne was lighting the lamp for the University of Denver. Now, seven years later, he is back in the Centennial State.

“I loved my time at DU,” said Colborne. “I had two unbelievable years and it definitely was a level of comfort that gave Denver a leg up. It wasn’t, obviously, maybe the biggest reason, but it’s definitely positive when you have a chance to come back to a city that I look at as two of the best years of my life, up to now.”

Having signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche on July 1, Colborne wasted little time getting acclimated to his new teammates, and re-acclimated to the city he called home years ago.

“It’s been fun, just getting to know all the guys,” he said. “A bunch of us went to a Broncos game and we’ve been out to a few Rockies games. It’s nice just to get to know that group and I already feel like I’ve been here for a long time on this team.”

For those unfamiliar with Colborne’s game from his time as a Pioneer, he is a big, strong, versatile power forward, who just may bring something to the table that was previously missing on the Avalanche, a team he is very excited to be joining.

“Talking with Joe [Sakic] on July 1 and the day or two before it, it was exciting just to hear him and the excitement he has for this group,” he said, “and seeing me bringing maybe an element we haven’t had quite as much of. I bet you 75 percent of my goals were scored within 4-5 feet of the net. I think I can complement some of these other skilled guys and hopefully have some success.”

Though Colborne was signed before he was hired, new Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar has high hopes for the 26-year-old heading in the preseason, especially with so many players off at the World Cup.

“Obviously we have three centermen gone to the World Cup and there’s players that have played center and wing that are coming in here,” said Bednar. “Guys like Joe Colborne. He’s going to get an opportunity up the middle. We need to see those guys playing in different positions and taking on a leadership role with our team.”

Last season, Colborne set new career highs playing for the Calgary Flames, scoring 19 goals and 44 points in 73 games. Surprisingly, he was not given a qualifying offer; but when one door closes, another opens.

“It’s a business,” explained Colborne. “It’s not the first time I’ve had to change organizations, and it’s tough when you see that you put three years into a program. But again, I had so much fun with my time in Calgary, and I learned so much. I really grew as a player, and hopefully now I’ll be able to carry that over and continue to grow and be a big part of this team.”