A crowd estimated by Denver's Office of Special Events at over a half million joined the Colorado Avalanche as they raised the Stanley Cup in a two hour long parade that was a lot more like a party. Fans recalled the long time between championships.
"I was born and raised in August. I was born in September of 96," said a group of friends, "We've just loved them all of our lives."
The Avs have endeared themselves to the fans by climbing rapidly from hockey's basement with a 22 win season in 2016-2017.
"To see the team, the camaraderie, passing it around was so awesome," said one woman at the parade.
"How about this team," said executive vice president and General Manager Joe Sakic. He was on the ice when the Avs won their two previous Stanley Cups.
Coach Jared Bednar thanked Sakic for bringing him in and choked up, his voice also hoarse from the week's work.
"I'm going to try not to get emotional," he said. "They gave me my first chance."
Another emotional period came from Nazem Kadri who took racist threats to him and his family that included attacks on his Muslim faith after he rain into St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington during the playoffs.
Binnington, did not return to play after the collision. Kadri was not penalized or fined. Overt and anonymous threats showed up on social media and Colorado fans showed Kadri their support. He wore a specially-designed t-shirt Thursday that read, "Too Many Men," and showed players hugging him on ice.
"All of you are a part of it. I'm going to remember it forever. All my teammates, the city of Denver, sticking by my side. Never wavered. I love you guys! You're the best!" said Kadri to the crowd.
Also throwing love back to the fans was Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog.
"I cannot begin to explain to you guys how much love I have for these guys behind you and how much love I've got for you guys. Thank you!" said Landeskog.
Nathan MacKinnon spoke about fan support and how great the team was together. Veteran Erik Johnson credited the Avs owners, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment and talked about the tough times.
Norris Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup winner Cale Maker reared back and raised his hands to the chant of "MVP" from the crowd. "What's up Denver!" he yelled.
Minutes later, the crowd joined together to sing along to Blink 182's "All the Small Things." A Stanley Cup, is a really, big thing.
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