By Daniel Paiz
June 30, 2022 will be a day in Colorado history and Denver sports history as one of the biggest celebrations to date. The Colorado Avalanche celebrate winning the 2022 Stanley Cup Championship with a massive parade in Denver today, and it was packed. Estimates had attendance at around 500,000 people, which would make it the second largest sports parade in state history (after the 2015 Denver Broncos title parade was estimated to be 1 million people).
So many stories to be told from today’s events, and from the 2022 NHL season. The discrimination Nazem Kadri faced and his resiliency throughout these playoffs. Guys like Gabriel Landeskog, Eric Johnson, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen reaching the top of the hockey world after some very lean years at the start of their careers. Coach Jared Bednar winning a title in every league he’s coached in. But the most important one to tell might not just involve any of the players at all.
Denver comes together
Sports, like other enjoyments in life, often have people being a bit too tribal when it comes to our team versus theirs. I too once operated under this mindset for quite some time (and occasionally slip up with that thought process every once in a long while). The beauty of sports is how it can bring together folks that, under other circumstances where they knew more about each other, might not interact at all.
That’s not to say one shouldn’t stick to their beliefs. It’s more to remind people that there has to be engagement between people that disagree with one another. No growth or community can happen otherwise, and as cliché as it sounds, sports can potentially help with that.
Something else to remember from all of this is the importance of celebration. In our media, in our news feeds is the constant influx of what’s wrong right now. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed and investigated, there’s no denying that. This is also not to say that people don’t need to be informed on the world around us, because everyone needs to in order to grow and engage.
However, there are times to celebrate accomplishments. Honestly a grand majority of us at the parade today stepped on the ice for 0.00 game minutes, but fans still feel a buy-in for what the Avs accomplished this season. Plus, the Avs weren’t the only champions at the Civic Center Park today either.
The champs are here
The Avs won the Stanley Cup, but they weren’t the only winners of their respective season. The National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth are also champions, coming back from a 1-0 series deficit in a best of 3 series to win the title. It’s the first Mammoth title since they won back in 2006.
Getting back to the ice, the University of Denver’s Pioneers won the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Hockey National Championship this year, further adding to their legacy as one of the best collegiate hockey programs in the country. The Pios have now won nine national championships in 18 appearances, tying the University of Michigan for most hockey national championships in the country. But the winning doesn’t end with pro and collegiate hockey teams, there’s more winning to celebrate.
East High School in Denver also has won the high school national championship for the 2022 season. The East Angels had won the Colorado state title and went on to win the national championship in Dallas earlier this year. It was the first time a Denver Public Schools team had won the state title.
Celebrating the fruits of hard work is important to do, but sometimes it’s not just grand accomplishments that deserve all of our recognition. Today’s parade united Denver momentarily. It also reminded us how important it is to celebrate both historic moments, and all of the small things.