Is there an NHL game on tonight?
That’s the reality the NHL Owners and Players have forced upon hockey fans around North America. The premier hockey league is now in lock out as the two sides square off over money. While crowds look for a replacement to their hockey team, Colorado Avalanche fans have a gift waiting just outside of downtown Denver.
That is the slogan the Denver Cutthroats are promoting with the hashtag #gofish on Twitter, as they prepare for their inaugural season in the CHL. The Cutthroats, owned by Ball Corporation CEO John Hayes, are the first minor hockey league team in the Denver area since the Rocky Mountain Rage contracted in 2009. They would have had a natural rivalry with the Colorado Eagles from the Ft. Collins area, but the Eagles have moved to the ECHL.
The last Denver based minor league team, the Grizzles, played only one season in Denver before moving to Utah. They left the year the Colorado Avalanche made the move from Quebec. Cutthroats Coach Derek Armstrong played for that team before completing a professional career that landed him in the NHL. The Grizzles won the Turner Cup in that one season in Denver. Their success was a contributing factor to Denver being awarded the Quebec Nordiques franchise.
The Cutthroats will play in the Denver Coliseum, which has not seen hockey since 1989. The last major tenant on ice in the Coliseum was the Denver Mavericks of the IHL in 1959. Gordie Howe graced the Coliseum with his skates at one time. The Coliseum also hosts events like the National Western Stock Show, a Native American Pow Wow, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice. The stadium is set to get renovations for the new team.
The Cutthroats are the CHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche and could feature goalie prospects Kieran Millan and Kent Patterson from the Avalanche. Millan went to Boston University and Patterson was a goaltender for the University of Minnesota. The roster for the club is still being compiled and their first game will be October 19th, the first of a weekend series against the Missouri Mavericks.