This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Click here to read the full digital edition.

We used to pop the top off The Can.

2016 needs to reignite that place.

Since Pepsi Center opened on Oct. 1, 1999, it has seen some rockin’ times.

Raymond Bourque hoisted the Stanley Cup at center ice in June of 2001. Chauncey Billups and the Nuggets went on a magical playoff run during the spring of 2009, winning seven crucial games on the hardwood in a little more than a month. Each time the joint was, as the kids say, LIT.

Both the Avalanche and Nuggets can make the playoffs this season. But they’ll need the support of this crazy cow town to get there.

Here are eight crucial dates to circle on the 2016-17 calendar that you need to be in the seats over at 1000 Chopper Circle.


Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 – Hockey is back and the Jared Bednar era will officially begin. It’s the season opener and the Avs could use a sellout to get things rolling.

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 – Sidney Crosby and the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins will be at Pepsi Center; beating the best in the East is always a good sign.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 – The kickoff of an insanely crucial 52 hours for Colorado includes a visit from the Blackhawks, hopefully with division title implications on the line.

Thursday, April 6, 2017 – The Wild feel like a logical rival for the Avalanche, they just have to start beating Minnesota in big games – this feels like it will be one.


Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 – A new season with significantly raised expectations starts against a legitimate Northwest Division threat in Portland. Can the Nuggets make a statement?

Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 – The traveling villain train makes its first stop of the year in Denver; the Warriors used to be likable – now they’re another boo-able “super team.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – The King and all his rings arrive for his lone trip of the season to the Mile High City. LeBron’s teams have never played very well here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017 – The Durant-less Thunder pay their final visit in Game No. 80 for Denver; call me crazy, but Northwest Division bragging rights may be in play.