DENVER — It’s safe to say Denver is a hockey town. But, it’s also no exaggeration to say Denver might just be the new title holder for Hockeytown, USA – with not one title, not two, not even three, but four championships this year.
The Colorado Avalanche brought home the Stanley Cup Sunday night, sealing the deal on one of the most dominating Stanley Cup Playoff performances of all-time.
The team’s win also sealed Denver’s fate as the new Hockeytown, USA, at least in 2022.
In addition to the Avs title, the University of Denver won the 2022 NCAA National Championship, netting DU a record-tying ninth NCAA title for one school.
The Denver East High Angels skated their way into hockey history by winning the 2022 Colorado state championship then going on to win the high school national championship in Dallas.
“In the championship game, we were behind the whole game and then scored in the third and then went ahead in the third,” said East High coach John Kopperud. “And then Nick Chadd, there, got the empty netter to seal the deal.”
“It was awesome playing hockey this year,” said Nick Chadd. “Especially with all the fans and community coming out and gathering around us.”
The players say the state championship at Ball Arena was the best part of the season.
“That game was the coolest game of my life,” said Colorado High School Activities Association's 2022 Player of the Year for hockey, East High defenseman Joseph Capra.
“I wasn’t nervous, and then took like one stride,” said defenseman Zeke Romero. “Walked out and everything’s shaking. I was expecting a good amount of people, and then I walk out and it’s a sea of red.”
“Walking out of the tunnel, I knew we’d have good crowd,” Capra said. “I took three strides onto the ice, looked up in stands and it was packed with red. It was just incredible.”
For the University of Denver Pioneers, the ninth title in school history punctuates unprecedented success.
“It’s why I came here to Denver,” said DU forward Cameron Wright. “Came to win hockey games and win national tournaments.”
“Big Avs fan, yeah,” Capra said.
“Last night, our group chat was blowing up,” Chadd said. “Celebrating a little bit.”
“It was pretty surreal,” Capra said. “I didn’t stop smiling for about two hours.”
It's fitting that East High sits right off of Detroit Street, a city that typically takes the title of Hockeytown, USA.
“Denver’s Hockeytown right now,” Capra said. “Hockeytown, USA.”
“Now, it’s most definitely Denver,” said Kopperud. “More titles than anybody this year, so it’s Denver. No question.”
There was even a fourth title this year.
The Avs pee-wee hockey team, the Littleton Hawks, raised their own version of the Stanley Cup after winning the Quebec International Tournament back in May. The kids even stormed the ice after the win.
So, yes, it’s safe to say the Mile High City has added a new nickname, stolen from the upper Midwest —Hockeytown, USA.