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Avs Fans From Europe Take Dream Vacation Despite Team's Woes

By Mark Haas

DENVER (CBS4) - They have come from around the world to see their favorite team -- the Colorado Avalanche.

"This year we have 10 guys from four countries -- Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Finland," said David Puchovsky, the founder of the Eurolanche.

It was the ninth trip for the Avalanche fan club, which was formed 10 years ago.

"We have over 640 members from 40 countries, and not just in Europe," Puchovsky said.

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Puchovsky has been on the previous trips, but for the rest of the group, it was a dream vacation.

"I planned this vacation for years," said Jakub Klos from the Czech Republic. "I have a family so I have to arrange around them, and it worked this year, so I am here."

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"I switched jobs in October," said Barnabas Palotai from Hungary. "And when I went for interviews I told every employer I have this vacation in January, so if they aren't going to employ me that's fine, but I'm not going to cancel this trip."

Most of the members have been fans since the early days of the Avs in Denver when the team won a pair of Stanley Cups.

"I really liked the logo and the jerseys," said Klos. "And they just won the Stanley Cup, so I fell in love with them."

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On the two-week trip the group has seen six games including two in California. As luck would have it, they have seen six straight losses with their last chance to see a win Wednesday against Vancouver.

"We were sad and disappointed about the six-game losing streak," said Palotai. "But I am not here for wins, if that sounds weird, but I am here to see the players and the Avalanche."

"It is really hard to watch every loss after we came from the other side of the world," said Puchovsky. "But one of the fan club roles is to unite fans in both winning and losing seasons."

One other thing that unites this group: their love for Joe Sakic.

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"I got a photo with him and his signature, and I was in Heaven," said Klos.

And the Eurolanche members believe Sakic will lead the franchise back to glory.

"I am looking to the future," said Klos. "And this team, they can't be worse, they can only be better."

"I think the future is bright," said Palotai. "They are not going to turn it around this season I don't think, but next season they can make the playoffs."

"In the next years it will turn around," said Puchovsky. "We will win the Cup again, I have no doubt about it."

Mark Haas is a sports anchor/reporter for CBS4. Read his bio or follow him on Twitter @markhaastv or on Facebook.

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