The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today its preseason and regular season schedules for the upcoming 2009-10 National Hockey League campaign.
The Avalanche will open the season by hosting the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Pepsi Center. Prior to the opener against the Sharks, the Avalanche organization will retire the number 19 in honor of team captain Joe Sakic with a special pre-game ceremony. Sakic announced his retirement on July 9.
The 2009-10 campaign will mark the Avalanche's 14th season in Denver and the franchise's 30th season since entering the NHL in 1979-80. The Quebec Nordiques played 16 seasons before relocating to Colorado in the summer of 1995.
This year will also be the club's 10th season at Pepsi Center, which opened in 1999-2000. The Avalanche's season opener will come on the 10-year anniversary of Pepsi Center's grand opening, a Celine Dion concert on Oct. 1, 1999. The team will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pepsi Center with a number of events throughout the campaign.
The October 1st opening night matches the "earliest" start in franchise history, as the 1997-98 team also began that season on Oct. 1.
The Avalanche will face every Eastern Conference team for the second straight year, playing a total of 18 games against the East (nine at home, nine away). Colorado will play Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay twice each (home and away), while meeting the other 12 opponents once. The Avs' interconference home slate features a visit from two-time league MVP Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, Dec. 15, as well as appearances from the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. Colorado will travel to all five Northeast Division cities and also heads to Pittsburgh to face the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins on Thursday, Dec. 3, at Mellon Arena.
Colorado will play 64 games within its own conference, facing its division rivals six times each (three home, three away) and the other Western Conference teams four times apiece (twice at home). The Avs will host the conference champion Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, Oct. 24 and Monday, March 1.
The league will take a two-week break in action from Feb. 15-28 for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. This marks the fourth consecutive Olympics that NHL players have participated in.
The 2009-10 schedule includes a seven-game road trip from Oct. 8-21, the club's longest since moving to Denver. That seven-game road swing will be the third-longest in franchise history, just two shy of the record (9 games, Oct. 9-26, 1980). The Avalanche will have a pair of five-game homestands, Dec. 9-19 and Jan. 16-28.
The Avs will play a total of 16 back-to-back games this season, their most since arriving in Denver. Colorado will have 22 "weekend" games at home, including seven on Friday night, nine on Saturday and six on Sunday. The Avs are scheduled for three home afternoon contests, Saturday, Oct. 3 vs. Vancouver, Saturday, Jan. 16 vs. New Jersey and the season finale on Sunday, April 11 vs. Los Angeles.
Colorado's preseason schedule includes six games, three at home and three on the road. The Avalanche will play Dallas, Los Angeles and St. Louis twice each (once at home, once away). The Avs will conclude the exhibition slate with the annual Frozen Fury matchup against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, Sept. 26 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.