While playing in front of thousands of Air Force cadets in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one would think the Colorado Avalanche would have played with more fight than they did Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings. Tyler Toffoli led the Kings to a 3–1 victory over Colorado, scoring all three goals for the first hat trick in an outdoor NHL contest.
The crowd of over 40,000 people did not have much to cheer about, in fact it was the opposite. Reports on Twitter of logistics complications made the night worse for the fans, who paid a pretty penny to watch their team out in the cold.
I was shocked last night when I received a text from a friend saying he was leaving after the second period ended. At the time, the game was tied 1–1, so I knew something was wrong. He told me that getting into the game, going to the bathroom and buying merchandise was a hassle and took upwards of 45 minutes each. He and his friends wisely anticipated the chaos that would ensue after the game, so they took off after their poor experience.
— The Rink — Colorado (@TheRinkColorado) February 16, 2020
We reached out on Twitter to see if anybody else was having the same experience and we got a lot of feedback. Everything from running out of toilet paper, food, beer and a lot of people missing the game because of traffic. And to put a cherry on top of it, when the game ended, fans were waiting over two hours to get off the base. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynbski reported late last night that fans were demanding their tickets be refunded because of the awful traffic jam.
In a way, the Avalanche got bailed out by some poor event planning, because if things ran smoothly at the event, people would only be talking about how the Avalanche got beat on national television by a last-place Kings team. Maybe if the Avs got their act together a found a way to squeak out a win, this whole debacle would not have been so bad. Maybe people would have been partying in the streets waiting for traffic to clear. But, a lack of effort and discipline by the Avs caused an already poor experience to get worse.
Looking forward, Colorado General Manager Joe Sakic has to take a hard look at the depth of his team and decide whether they are ready to take the next step. On paper, they might be a contender, but it does not look like they are mentally there. It obviously has not been easy with so many injuries, but the Avalanche need players on the ice who want to make a play, yet there was not a whole lot of that Saturday night. Additionally, Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer left the game early in the third period with an injury and his status moving forward is in question. Sakic may need to consider adding a net minder prior to the trade deadline.
Can validate. Absolute nightmare
— Tim Preston (@Tim_22_Preston) February 16, 2020
It was absolutely terrible. Left loveland at 215, didnt get there and sat until 10 min left in the second. They ran out of beer i guess. There was throw up everywhere. Very very very poorly planned and very very shitty experience
— Nissa Rose (@NissaRose13) February 16, 2020
Yep, it was a mess. Surprisingly though, folks seemed to roll with it, staying in good spirits and remained friendly. Really enjoyed it the experience even with the mess.
— Dave Carlson (@CarlsonDavidM) February 16, 2020
It was a disaster. Shouldn’t have these events in locations that clearly can’t handle it. We got there late and left after watching the last ten minutes of period 2 so we wouldn’t have to deal with the issues on the way out too.
— Courtney Jensen (@_courtneyjensen) February 16, 2020
The Atmosphere and the in Stadium feel was spectacular but…the exit was straight up dangerous we ubered in and was never notified that shuttle services can't come back on base after it closes we walked along the road from the stadium to I 25 it was unfortunately our only option
— KINGER (@BrianKinger87) February 16, 2020
Yes I can validate. More than half the crowd missed the first period, and no one could use the bathrooms as the lines were too long.
— Liam Hopkins (@lamae_shopkins) February 16, 2020
True story… I live normally 10 mins from stadium, took me 1:35 to get to my seats. Ran out of beer midway through first period. Lines absolutely ridiculous… and drunk people puking everywhere to top it off. You couldnt even walk around near bathrooms or concessions.
— Sean M Kennedy ⛳️🏒🗻 (@COHockeyTurf) February 16, 2020
We live 6 miles away & it took us 3 hours to get there from leaving our house to parking. Wasted money on a parking pass bc they stopped charging since it was such a mess. They weren’t prepared at all. AFA games are better planned out, so frustrating that an NHL game wouldn’t be
— taylor (@taylorspalloni) February 16, 2020