In 1976 the Kansas City Scouts moved to Denver, Colorado, and became the Colorado Rockies of the NHL.  The Rockies played in McNichols Arena, completed in 1975 at a cost of $16 million and it seated 16,061 for hockey.

The L.A. Kings’ first game in McNichols Arena was on November 28, 1976, and the game ended in a 6-6 tie in front of only 5,697 fans.  Tommy Williams and Lorne Stamler each scored two goals for the Kings who built a 6-3 lead. Denis Dupere had two of three unanswered goals for the Rockies to force the tie.

The radio-TV and press facilities at McNichols were not ideal to say the least.  A makeshift pressbox was set up for writers at one end of the arena behind the goal.  It was a terrible view of the play at the opposite end over 200 feet away.  The television booth was located at center ice but it also had its flaws. Once we were seated the only way for my partner, Nick Nickson, to leave the booth for an interview was to crawl through an open window frame out into the crowd.  He was fortunate there was no glass in the frame.

During the intermission I would go on camera to give out of town scores and comment on what went on in the period.  To go on camera, either at the open of the telecast or between periods, we had to stand on folding chairs with the danger of collapsing.  To prevent falling, I would hold on with one hand to a railing in front of us. It was not viewable on camera so I don’t think viewers ever knew how precarious the situation was.  Of course, they would have if we suddenly fell out camera view, which fortunately never happened.

The Rockies played six seasons in Denver and made the playoffs one time, losing in the first round. The Rockies then moved to New Jersey to become the Devils, starting with the 1982-83 season.  The NHL was absent in Denver from 1982 until 1995 when the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche.

In their first season in Denver, 1995-96, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup.  Former L.A. King and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk and I broadcast a playoff game for NHL Radio between the Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings that season.  When the Nordiques arrived in Denver at the start of the season very few people were familiar with the players, but by playoff time almost everyone in Denver was wearing an Avalanche jersey with a players’ name on the back.  I went into the gift shop at the hotel in which I was staying, and an elderly woman working there asked me in her faltering voice, ‘Do you think the Avalanche can win the Stanley Cup?’  I answered, ‘Oh, I hope so, you’ve been waiting so long, what is it now, six months?’

During the pre-game warm-up for that playoff game all the lights went out on our side of the arena but not over the ice or the opposite stands.  Olczyk and I started our broadcast on the telephone, passing it back and forth to make comments.  That lasted through two periods before the lights returned on our side of the arena.

McNichols Arena was demolished on January 24, 2000, after the Avalanche moved into the new Pepsi Center in 1999.  I don’t believe any broadcasters were sorry to see McNichols fade into history.

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

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Born: August 24, 1987
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Bio

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Drew Doughty

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Born: December 8, 1989
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Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
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Bio

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Jeff Carter

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Born: January 1, 1985
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Handedness: Right

Bio

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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