A recap of the Eurolanche Invasion XIKieran Lavelle became the first Eurolanche member from the United Kingdom to participate at the Invasion project. This is his recap of Invasion XI.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 – the day I have been waiting for has finally arrived. It's time to head to Denver and after 19 years of watching the Avalanche it's time to go watch the team live in the US. The day starts for me at 4 am to head to Glasgow airport and fly to London Heathrow, where I will meet David from Slovakia and Norbert from Austria, and fly directly to Denver. After a long day of flying, we get to Denver mid afternoon Mountain Time, which for me is seven hours behind UK time. After a quick shower, we head downtown to the Pepsi Center and pick up our tickets for the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the game, we meet Lukasz from Poland (who lives in the US now) who had a few problems getting to Denver from Michigan, as his flight from Chicago got cancelled in the morning. While it was an awesome experience to finally say I'd attended a game at "the Can", the day was somewhat bittersweet as the Avs went down 5:2.
The next day, we were off to Las Vegas, as the rest of the group wasn't joining us for another two days, plus it gave us a chance to see not only the sights Vegas has to offer but also potentially plan for a possible Invasion in the future depending on the NHL scheduling. Thankfully for us, we had a Eurolanche friend, Andy (originally from Colorado), fly in from LA to join us for the Vegas trip and he acted as our guide. While Vegas was great to see, for me personally, I would have preferred to visit it near the end of the Invasion rather than the start. I didn't end up gambling, which may have been a good thing. David did have some luck at roulette and came away a couple hundred dollars richer.
On Friday we said goodbye to Andy who went home to LA. Meanwhile, we flew back to Denver, picked up our rental car, checked into the hotel and waited for the rest of the participants to arrive.
Saturday was time for an afternoon game against the St. Louis Blues, but again, we unfortunately came away feeling blue as St Louis won 3:0. The rest of the day was spent checking out downtown Denver and on our various trips to go souvenir shopping. Dinner at the Czech restaurant SoBo 151 was a pretty cool experience and became our go-to place for a meal before games if time allowed us to.
The following day saw the beginning of our long road trips, which started with us leaving the hotel at 7 am for a drive to the Rocky Mountains to see the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, some ski resorts and little towns. After plentiful stops for photo opportunities, we arrived at Colorado Gators, where we got the chance to hold a baby alligator, see and hold some snakes and eventually got to see the big gators and crocs. After an eventful drive home, we finally got back to the hotel around 10 pm.
We spent the next four days sightseeing around Denver, which included stops at the US Air Force Academy, where the Avs will play an outdoor game next season and a trip to the US Olympic village in Colorado Springs, where all the athletes stay and train as well. During these four days, we had two more home games and I'm happy to say I finally saw my first win after four losses (two games this Invasionand two in Stockholm), as the Avs beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3:0, while also witnessing a massive home win against the Winnipeg Jets, in which Colorado dominated and won 7:1. During these games, we also saw the first NHL goals for Andrew Agozzino against the Knights and AJ Greer against the Jets. During this time, we also had the opportunity to go see the Colorado Eagles practice and meet some players like Martin Kaut, Pavel Francouz, Logan O'Connor and others afterwards.
Next up was the road trip to Chicago and Nashville. But first, we said goodbye to Norbert, who unfortunately had to go home for work commitments. Chicago was pretty cool to see, but before we went sightseeing, it was time to tackle a deep dish Chicago pizza. Despite the waitress advising everyone to share, most of the group elected to ignore her warnings and went ahead and got a pizza each. In the end, we should have listened, as only David was able to finish his, me failing by a slice. After dinner, we decided to go for a walk and visit the navy pier, which looks out over Lake Michigan. The next day, we started off by visiting Hancock Tower, which gave us breathtaking views of the city, but also the opportunity to go on The Tilt – this consists of standing on a platform and being suspended 30° outside the building. After some more time downtown, it was time to go to the United Centre and after a pretty eventful game, we were glad to say the Avs came away with a very hard fought 5:3 victory thanks to two goals from JT Compher and Carl Soderberg, who’s second was an empty-netter to seal the game.
Next we were off to Nashville, which I had been looking forward. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't on our side, as it was raining pretty heavily, so we didn't spend much time exploring the city. Due to this, we thought it would be best just to head to the arena. I have to admit that even though I was excited about this game, I was also extremely nervous as I had no clue how the Nashville Predators fans would treat me. In the end, I had nothing to worry about apart from a few comments about wearing a Peter Forsberg jersey and the woman two seats to my right berating her husband for talking to me initially. But on finding out I'm Scottish, she had loads of questions about Harry Potter and if I had seen the places the films had been shot. The game went far better than expected and after getting a quick goal from Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs pretty much coasted the game, coming away with a massive 5:0 win, with Philipp Grubauer earning the shutout this time.
After an eventful drive to Lynchburg where we drove through flashfloods, thunder and avoiding tornado alerts, we made it safely there. A quick nap for a few hours and we were up and ready to go visit the Jack Daniel's distillery, which was pretty cool, plus got us five samples or in some cases six. Afterwards, we embarked on the long drive back to Chicago (nine and a half hours), where again we would be staying before flying back to Denver for our last four days.
During the last few days, we took in home games against the Florida Panthers, where the Avalanche’s overtime curse unfortunately came into play, as the Panther came away with a 4:3 win in the extra period. The following night, we made our way to Loveland and took in an Eagles game against the San Antonio Rampage, where after a back and forward game the Eagles ultimately came away with a 5:3 win. The night after that was our final night in Denver and the Invasion, we were back at the Pepsi Center and saw the Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 3:2 in a shootout, with the winner again coming from Soderberg.
Overall, the trip gave the Avalanche a record of 5-2-1 during our Invasion, so things worked out well for us and we all got to see some wins. All in all, we all got to see some truly awesome sights, visit four or five different States and experience a whole lot on our US trip, which everyone will remember for a long time.
- Diaries of the members
- Photo gallery
- Photo gallery from Las Vegas
- Photo gallery from Chicago
- Photo gallery from Nashville
- Photo gallery from the Eagles game
- All important information about the Eurolanche Invasion project may be found at invasion.eurolanche.com
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05/08/2019 - 20:00