Now that the world is opening up again and, thanks to last year’s taxi squad, Avalanche fans are a bit more aware of what is going on here in the Northern Colorado hockey world, you might be thinking about attending a Colorado Eagles game.
As any fan knows, there is nothing like live hockey. But, Eagles games have their own amazing energy. I often hear it compared to the feel of college games. Despite what some Denver fans seem to think, this is not a group of Avalanche fans who did not feel like driving to Denver for “real” hockey. This is Eagles Country. We were selling out our barn long before there was any affiliation with the Avalanche. In fact, the Eagles hold the minor pro sports record for most consecutive sellout games at 367. We are a diehard group of fans who love our team, and we would love to have you join us. But, where to begin?
Let me help you.
The Budweiser Events Center seats 5,280 fans. That’s it. Have you heard the saying “there is not a bad seat in the house”? When it comes to the BEC, it is not a cliché. Any seat you are in will feel more intimate than an Avalanche game. But, different sections can also have their own feel. The mid-ice seats on the west side of the building are club seats and are the only padded seats in the building. I tend to think of this as “the nice section,” but that does not mean it is not fun. Directly across the ice on the east side of the building, you will find some of the loudest, rowdiest die-hard fans in Northern Colorado, including subsections proudly known as Club Rowdy and Cell Block E. On the south end, behind the attack-twice goal, is where I sit. I am biased, but I think our section is the place to be. We may not be quite as loud. You will not see us dancing on the Jumbotron (not that there is anything wrong with that). But, you will find a group of hardcore, knowledgeable season ticket holders who are more interested in goals than fights.
Sold on going to a game yet? Good. Buy tickets here.
The BEC now uses the same clear bag policy as most major sporting venues. There are no paper tickets and no cash transactions (thanks a lot, COVID-19). So, have your tickets downloaded to your phone ahead of time, and bring your credit or debit card.
All parking at the Budweiser Events Center is free.
Also, be prepared for it to be loud as hell. I am not kidding. This is a very small, enclosed building with thousands of fans ringing cowbells. I have had so many friends get to the game and marvel that it is louder than any sporting event they have ever attended. I am going to say it again: Eagles Country is LOUD.
If it is too much, they have free earplugs available at the guest services desk. Do not be afraid to ask for a pair.
Which game to attend?
Like most teams, the Eagles have certain promotional nights, and these can be some of the most coveted tickets of the season. Cowbell night—this year, on Nov. 19—is immensely popular, but I recommend bringing earplugs. On Nov. 26, all kids receive a free Eagles jersey. Nov. 27 is bobblehead night. Pucks and Paws night—on Dec. 4 this year—raises money for local animal charities and features the Ruff Flyball Dogs at intermission (always a hit). Fireworks night in January is a blast (pun fully intended). Jan. 15 is ‘80s Night, where you can laugh at how people under 40 think we dressed back then. (This ‘80s girl does not remember anybody wearing neon tutus, but nobody tell the college students that). Pot of Gold, which happens in March, raises money for a local family in need—very often for a child with a terminal illness. It is a worthy and important cause and features all kinds of auctions and giveaways.
Check out the full list of promotional nights below or here. If you are buying for a family, look for the Pepsi four-pack option, which includes four tickets and $40 of concession vouchers for only $98.
If you only plan on attending one Eagles game this year, do yourself a favor and come on Dec. 11 for the annual Teddy Bear Toss! Bring as many stuffed animals as you can carry and throw them onto the ice after the first Eagles goal. This tradition collects thousands of stuffed animals for local hospitals, and watching the Eagles players collect all those toys and load them into trucks is half the fun. But, buy your tickets early, because this will be one of the first games to sell out.
In the stadium
Not counting the suites, the Budweiser Events Center only has one level and therefore only one concourse. When you enter the stadium, you will come up the stairs and into a mass of humanity who seem to be going absolutely nowhere at the slowest possible pace. There may also be cheerleaders handing you random stuff, like magnetic schedules or coupons. To your left will be guest services, should you need help (or the aforementioned earplugs). Directly in front of you will be beer, but you will find shorter lines elsewhere.
The Eagles no longer print programs or rosters. If you stop by the guest services desk, you can scan a QR code which will (in theory) direct you to the latest digital edition. But, my advice is bring your own copy of the roster.
You will also be greeted by a bunch of young kids or teens trying to sell you little foam pucks for $1 each. With each puck, you will also receive a raffle ticket. This is Chuck a Puck. More about this later.
The rest of the stadium
The section behind the north goal is the Bud Light Balcony. As the name implies, it is a bar with a balcony, a few tables and no reserved seats. There are often beer specials happening. It is definitely a fun place to hang out before or during the game. This also where Slapshot, the Eagles’ mascot, is most likely to be before the game, in case you or your kids want a picture with him.
On each side of the Bud Light Balcony, you will find the two biggest food vendors in the place—one selling pizza, the other selling burgers and poutine. Other fare is scattered around the concourse, including (but not limited to) gyros, nachos and fresh-fried donuts (so yummy!), as well as the more traditional stadium food. Looking for craft beer? Some of the bars in the BEC have a very limited beer selection, but you can find more options at the vendor right across from the entrance and at the Breckenridge Breweries station behind section E.
Hoping for something a little more upscale than stadium nachos? Check out the Blue Bar and Grill, located on the fourth floor (that is the suite level) of the BEC. The restaurant opens 90 minutes before the puck drops, and it is best to make a reservation.
The merchandise stand is behind section J. Expect epically long lines if you go during intermission.
During the game
In the past, the national anthem was almost always sung by local school choirs. Whether or not this will continue this year remains to be seen, but I hope so. The older kids can be amazing, and the younger ones are downright adorable. There is nothing like hearing a ragtag group of 5-year-olds singing our anthem.
I know all you Avs fans are waiting to hear “All the Small Things,” but here in Northern Colorado, we have our own traditions. One of the crowd favorites, which involved greeting the opposing players when they entered the ice, was taken away when the Eagles moved to the AHL, but other traditions remain. Before puck drop, Reed Saunders (also known as the Voice of Coors Field) will say, “It’s (Friday) night,” and the crowd will answer, “It’s hockey night!” When the opposing team’s power play ends, and Saunders says, “(Team) back to full strength,” the crowd replies with “…and they still suck.”
Chuck a Puck happens during the second intermission, when you will be invited to toss those foam pucks you bought over the glass. Your goal is to hit the bucket at center ice. It should be noted that if you are seated behind the net, you do not stand a chance; go down to center ice for a better shot. Should your puck magically land in said bucket, you will win cold hard cash. The minimum prize is $500 and it goes up another $250 every time there is no winner. Even if you fail to land your puck in the bucket, you could still win one of the other nightly giveaways, so hang onto those tickets and check the numbers when they are announced. Money raised through Chuck a Puck goes to whichever group was selling the pucks that night, often scout troops, local cheerleaders or youth sport steams.
A game stick is also given away during second intermission of every single game. You are automatically entered into this drawing when your ticket is scanned. Just be sure to listen for your section and seat to be announced after Chuck a Puck. And if you win this stick, immediately deliver it to me in section L. I have been attending games for years now and have never won. I want that stick!
The first minute of the third period is called the Minute of Madness. This is when you will be expected to stand up and make as much noise as you can for a solid minute. In theory, the section that makes the most noise wins a prize. Realistically, I am pretty sure they just randomly pick a section, but hey, free stuff is still fun. If the Eagles score a goal during this minute, the entire stadium wins this prize.
During the Eagles’ goal song, something will be chanted.
What, exactly, do people chant?
Well, it turns out, nobody knows. Or, more accurately, it varies by section. I saw a discussion about it in the Eagles Fanatics Facebook group several years ago, and there were many variations of the chant around the stadium. Variations include:
Drop the puck, drop the puck, go Eagles go.
F—k ‘em up, f—k ‘em up, go Eagles go.
Puck ‘em up, puck ‘em up, go Eagles go.
Rough ‘em up, rough ‘em up, go Eagles go.
Any mix-n-match combo of the above four (i.e., “Drop the puck, rough ‘em up, go Eagles go!”)
Fight, fight, fight, fight, go Eagles go.
Let’s go, let’s go, go Eagles go. (This is the one I hear most in my section.)
And then there’s section C, where they apparently do this:
“We’re gonna beat the s—t out of you, and you, and you and you and you and you.” (Pointing to all the opposing players on the ice)
So basically, it does not matter what you say. Just pump your arm and chant whatever you want and nobody will know the difference.
After the goal song, the announcer will only say the scoring player’s number and first name, and the crowd will respond with the player’s last name.
Finally, if the Eagles win, you may hear a peculiar sound late in the game coming from Tim in Cell Block E. Or, you may hear it in the concourse as fans leave the stadium. To the untrained ear, it will sound like, “Hoo! How!”
What they are actually saying is “Whose house?”
And in Eagles Country, the response is always, “OUR HOUSE!”
The Eagles home opener is on Oct. 22. We hope to see you soon in Eagles Country!