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As part of the team’s 20th anniversary season, the Avalanche, along with its fans, paid tribute to some of Colorado’s greats that played for the NHL team during their year’s as the Rockies. The Colorado Avalanche unveiled their alternate jerseys on October 22nd, during their regular season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and held a ceremonial puck drop ceremony honoring former Colorado Rockies greats Barry Beck, Lanny McDonald, Wilf Paiement, Ron Delorme, Randy Pierce, Gary Croteau, and Mike Christie.

The first NHL franchise to play in Denver was the Colorado Rockies who played in the city from 1976-1982. The Rockies were once the Kansas City Scouts who were founded as an expansion team that played in the NHL during the 1976-1977 seasons. In the 1982-1983 season, the franchise moved to New Jersey and were renamed the New Jersey Devils and they remain as the Devils in the NHL today. No other team would play in Denver until the Quebec Nordiques moved out of Canada to Colorado following the 1994-1995 seasons and would be named the Colorado Avalanche. Although the existence of the Rockies in Colorado was quite short, the team saw many hockey legends play in Denver during this time.

Barry Beck, now the General Manager (Coach) for the Hong Kong Academy of Ice Hockey, was drafted second overall by the Colorado Rockies in 1977. Beck was runner up to Mike Bossy in the Calder Trophy voting as the league’s top rookie player in 1978 and competed in 150 games for the Rockies. He is remembered for his fearsome play on defense along with his ability to produce offensively. Beck compiled a total of 109 points and racked up 188 penalty minutes in a Rockies sweater before being traded to the New York Rangers during the 1979-1980 season.

Former Rangers Captain, Barry Beck, continues his involvement in ice hockey in Hong Kong, developing the sport and promoting the game to those who do not know of it. His passion for hockey was sparked even further during his trip back to Colorado where he was able to rekindle the bonds and friendships he made with his former teammates.

“I had not seen some of my teammates for 35 years so there were a lot of different emotions that came into play. Of course we were ecstatic to see one another and hugged each other like school kids. We are proud of each other’s accomplishments as some had their extended families there. It was just a great feeling to be with one another after so much time had gone by. There were dozens of hockey stories to be told and memories of former player’s lives and history. Hockey is our bond so we cherish it. We are committed until the end.”

Beck’s trip to Denver reminds us that hockey is more than a game, it is a culture and way of life and those who are involved in it create relationships that will last a lifetime. He uses this attitude and mindset to coach Hong Kong locals and is motivated to create this culture for hockey in Hong Kong.

Hockey and hockey fans are continuing to evolve and Beck was able to fully experience this rush when he, along with former Rockies greats, were introduced to center ice for the ceremonial puck drop ceremony ahead of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The atmosphere has changed quite a bit from what Barry remembers during his playing time in Denver.

Beck states, “Colorado is now a hockey hotbed. Youth hockey has expanded as the Avalanche does great community work and have promoted the game well. The stands are full now and it is tough to get tickets. That was not a problem when I played. The games were only sold out when it was 25 cent beer night as Coors was one of our sponsors. When you play in front of 20,000 fans you got to be ready to entertain at the highest level. They are paying top dollar and expect to get their money’s worth. Anything less and they feel ripped off. There are expectations now since they won the cup.”

It was a great moment for Barry to return to the city where he began his NHL career and when asked what his most memorable moment was during his visit he reminisced about the fans and experiences.

“I guess I thought about the people and the memories of playing for my first pro team. It was a dream come true and I loved every minute of it. We were a young team and fought on and off the ice together. When we all showed up at the party the Avalanche gave us at the Four Seasons it was like a homecoming. Thirty five years went by quick.  I can’t wait for the next one!!”

Barry Beck has had a distinguished career in the NHL and his contribution to hockey in Hong Kong is inspiring and his trip to Denver was one that he will always remember.


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Growing up in Canada I was a huge hockey fan, but it wasn't until the 1972 summit series and the 1976 Canada Cup that I became a big fan of international hockey. The best players in world all playing on a sheet of ice. 
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