Sports

Avalanche Watch Party on Auraria Campus for the Win

The Colorado Avalanche know how to throw a party.
The Colorado Avalanche know how to throw a party. Conor McCormick-Cavanagh
Don't have a couple thou to drop on a ticket to the fifth game of the Stanley Cup Finals? Stop a few blocks short of the Ball Arena and join the party at a free Colorado Avalanche Pepsi Zero Sugar Watch Party at the Tivoli Quad on the Auraria campus.

The bash for game one was an absolute blast, and they've just gotten bigger and better through the series.

The quad is set up with three screens: two on each side and one in the middle on a stage with a gigantic sound system and red and white lights. Fans can watch the game on any of these screens, but the real action is on the middle one, where Avs staffers emcee the experience from the stage, throwing prizes into the crowd and announcing winners of such raffle prizes as signed hockey sticks, pucks and jerseys.

And whenever the Avs score a goal, a handful of Avs hype men and women come out to a rendition of the Planet Funk song "Chase the Sun," to which the thousands in the throng chant, "Hey, hey, hey!" — just as fans are doing inside Ball Arena. There's even a version of beloved mascot Bernie.

While admission is free, the party includes a lineup of food trucks where you can purchase hot chicken, tacos, gyros, cheesesteaks and other options, along with funnel cakes the size of dinner plates. There are also beer and seltzer stands and free water stations — along with plenty of Ball Corporation aluminum cups from which to enjoy Denver Water's finest.

Except for sealed water bottles, you're not allowed to bring in food or drink. Chairs, blankets and large bags, including backpacks, are also not permitted inside the party grounds; to enter, you have to get past a security check-in. Fortunately, there are sunscreen lotion stations.
But the real draw is the chance to watch the game outdoors, for free, with thousands of fellow fans.

During the game one watch party, the only snag was that the live videostream occasionally lagged and dipped into lower resolution for a couple of seconds, only to buffer and return. But those moments actually recalled illegally streaming Avalanche games during the regular season, since Altitude isn't available on Comcast. And here it was kind of fun, because everyone in the crowd got to collectively curse. And then cheer.

When, within the first two minutes of overtime, Andre Burakovsky nailed the game-winning goal for the Avs, the watch party became absolute pandemonium, with cans and cups hucked in the air, streaming trails of beer and water.

The Avs are hosting a watch party in the same spot for each remaining game in the series; Attendance is limited to 10,000. On Friday, June 24, gates will open on the Tivoli Quad at 4 p.m. for the 6 p.m. puck drop.

Find more information here...and go, Avs!
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.