Sights and sounds from the Avs and Red Wings alumni game

Feb 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; A general view during the first period of the Stadium Series hockey game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not hyperbole to say that there was no rivalry in American sports during the second half of 1990s (and into the early 2000s) that was as fierce as the one between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings.

Relive some of the best (and bloodiest) moments from the rivalry.

That rivalry was renewed on Friday night as part of the Coors Light Stadium Series when members of teams spanning seasons from 19995-96 through 2001-02 met on the ice for an alumni game – and for the Avalanche, a chance for redemption on the 7-0 beatdown suffered in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, a game considered the effective end to the rivalry.

Mile High Sports had a team on-hand at the Avs and Red Wings alumni game, capturing some of the key moments from the event (with some apples from the league and our friends in the Denver and national media) that was nearly 15 years in the making…

Despite a fierce rivalry between the teams, fans from both sides came together in friendly competition before the puck dropped.

A close look at the sweaters in this picture show that Detroit was well represented in the Mile High City for the big showdown.

It was a bluebird day in Denver, with temperatures in the 70s. Not ideal for ice conditions, but great for the pregame party.

Fans of those early Avs teams had reason to dust off some of their classic sweaters, including these gems of Chris Simon and Dan Hinote – both of whom played in the game.

Coors Field converted every facet, and facade, of the stadium in preparation for the weekend, which also included a regular-season game between the Avs and Wings on Saturday.

The interior of the stadium was no different, with the entire playing field turned into a winter landscape and outdoor rink.

Fans went wild when the Avalanche alumni took the ice.

A huge ovation erupted from the crowd when Hall of Fame goalie and current head coach Patrick Roy was introduced.

Joe Sakic was the last Avs player to be introduced, and the fans did not disappoint in honoring one of the best centers to ever play the game.

It was fitting that Valeri Kamenski scored the first goal of the alumni game, considering he scored the first goal in Avalanche history. But the Avs were focused on more than just history in this game.

The Wings scored an equalizer just a few minutes later.

But longtime Avs captain and current GM Joe Sakic showed that his legendary wrist shot still has zip to it, giving Colorado a 2-1 lead after one period.

The second period was defined by defense, as neither team scored and Patrick Roy showed fans why he’s one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. Roy left the game after two periods, allowing just one goal on 21 shots.

Another Avs captain put one in net as Milan Hejduk redirected a shot by Mike Ricci for another Colorado goal.

Ray Bourque found the back of the net in the third as well, extending Colorado’s lead.

Brendan Shanahan cut the deficit to two, but it wouldn’t last long.

After a penalty on the Wings, Mike Ricci was awarded a penalty shot.

Ricci didn’t convert, but Stephane Yelle scored soon after with the Avs’ final goal of the night.

The teams paused late in the third quarter to thank the fans for their support over the past two decades.

Colorado fans could celebrate as the final seconds ticked down with the Avs carrying a commanding lead.

Two years’ worth of bad blood were set aside, though, as both teams gathered near center ice to take a photo and celebrate their rivalry.

 

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