The New Era of Colorado Avalanche Hockey

An artist depiction of what the new JumboTron will look like.

An artist depiction of what the new JumboTron will look like.

After their worst season since moving to Denver, the Colorado Avalanche have made an organizational shift toward a new era.

Pierre Lacriox has left the building and now it is franchise legend Joe Sakic calling the shots. His first hire was another legend, Patrick Roy, as coach. After these two hires the fans wondered if this was just a last great effort to rekindle the glory days. Was this a PR stunt or will there be real, lasting change to the Avalanche on and off the ice.

Watching their decisions since they have been hired, it is becoming clear this new regime is all about one thing: accountability. It started with Sakic and Roy being open and honest about their desire to draft Nathan MacKinnon. It was not a smoke screen or an attempt to leverage a trade from another team. They were just simply communicating to the fans and letting the fans hold them accountable.

They also sent a major message to the players when they traded away Shane O’Brien, David Jones and bought out Greg Zanon. O’Brien was out of

shape in camp, slacked off in practice and fooled around during warm-ups, causing a distraction in the locker room. David Jones scored three goals after signing a four year $16 million deal. Greg Zanon played with heart but his turnover and lack of speed were not helpful to the team.

By ridding the team of these three players they sent a simple message to the other: play well, work hard or we’ll move on. Hockey is as much a business as it is a sport and keeping players who are not working or whose performance is not up to par is bad business.

One of the trademark fo the Avs during their heyday was accountability. If a player wasn’t working toward the goal of a Stanley Cup or was struggling to perform at a high level, that player was moved to make room for other players.

Avalanche hockey faded over the past decade to the point where being close to the playoffs was considered “good enough.” Now, with Sakic and Roy, they will play will a Stanley Cup mentality. The players are going to play with that intensity or they will not play here. At least that is the message the Avs are sending the fans.

Speaking of the fans, the Kroenkes are putting their money where their arena is. Dreamed about for five years, the outdated video and audio equipment of the Pepsi Center has been removed in favor of a new JumboTron complete with up-to-date digital audio and video systems:

This fall, Pepsi Center will drastically enhance its in-arena fan experience with the installation of a next-generation video scoreboard and sound system that will raise the bar for all other indoor arenas. The new video board is the largest of its kind in the world and will provide patrons an unparalleled view of the action at Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Mammoth home games, as well as all other Pepsi Center sporting events.

The new scoreboard is the crown jewel of a continued arena-wide improvement project that began in 2012 with the installation of over 300 new HD flat panel screens throughout the concourses; restaurants and suites; upgraded seating in the lower and club levels; the new Land Rover Denver Club and the addition of four ancillary LED display boards in each of the four corners of the upper level.

The new loudspeakers consist of six line arrays that are 20 feet high and include four subwoofers mounted behind each array. Each loudspeaker in the array has a maximum power handling capability of 1,600 watts and each subwoofer has a maximum power handling capability of 2,400 watts.

“We are excited to bring a new standard of excellence to our fans’ experience when attending events at Pepsi Center,” said Josh

Kroenke, President of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets. “The new scoreboard, sound system and the technological improvements that come with each installation will provide fans with one of the best audiovisual presentations in all of sports.”

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment CEO Jim Martin added: “It is our goal to provide the best fan experience in all of sports and entertainment, and the new improvements to Pepsi Center will undoubtedly place it among the most state-of-the-art venues in the United States.”

The new scoreboard will be manufactured and installed by Daktronics of Brookings, S.D., and will feature one of the largest square footage viewing areas of any indoor scoreboard currently used in the world. A new HD production control facility for the scoreboard is being installed by Diversified Systems of Santa Clara, Calif., and designed by WJHW.

The scoreboard will contain four large screens—two will face the center seating areas, measuring approximately 27’ high by 48’ long, and two will face each end of the seating bowl, measuring approximately 21’ high by 25’ wide. The new display boards will contain over 8.5 million pixels in total. Fans seated along the center areas will face a 1080p full HD screen that spans both blue lines for hockey and stretches from 3-point line to 3-point line for basketball.

The new scoreboard will also bring a superior viewing experience to fans in all seating locations of Pepsi Center. The new end-facing video displays will be more than 300 percent larger than the old displays, and the new center displays will provide a video image that is more than 800 percent larger than the previous display.

Additionally, the new board will be capable of handling limitless configurations for displaying live action, game statistical information and animations. While the previous scoreboard displayed standard definition resolution, the new board will display HD content which required a complete re-build of the arena’s video production studio facilities. Altitude HD produced game action and Altitude quality segments will be featured in all game presentations.

The sound system features 43 four-channel amplifiers to cover the spectator seating that are rated at 9600 watts each for a total of 412,800 watts. In addition, separate digital signal processors are used for configuring the system. All of the amplifiers and digital signal processors will be monitored by computers, which will tell the operator the signal level and the ON-OFF status of each amplifier. It will also alert the operator of any malfunction in the amplifiers or loudspeakers. In addition, the computers allow the operator to reconfigure the system to supplement live concerts.

The system will be monitored by NTI sound level meters to insure maximum levels are not exceeded. WJHW designed the system by using a 3D acoustic modeling system that accurately predicts the sound coverage, intelligibility and levels. The system is being installed by LVW Electronics and will be operational for the new season.

It is a brave step forward for the franchise and the ownership. For far too long the Avs have dwelled in mediocrity. Now, they are taking the steps in the front office to return the team to a winning mentality, a Stanley Cup mentality. Get ready Avalanche fans because this is just the beginning.

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