Pepsi Center – Colorado Avalanche
Pepsi on Ice is Nice
The Pepsi Center has been the home for winter professional sports in the Denver area since 1999. It serves the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL and the Colorado Mammoth of the NLL. The arena seats 19,250 for basketball and 17,800 for hockey and lacrosse. It has 95 suites and 1,900 club seats.
The Avalanche began their existence as the Quebec Nordiques, one of the few teams to make the move from the WHL to the NHL. After the 1995 season the team was sold to a new ownership group and relocated to Denver, where the team was renamed as the Avalanche. The newly relocated team got off to a rousing start, as it won the Stanley Cup in its first season in its new home. The Avalanche are by far the most successful indoor sports franchise in the Mile High City. They have won two Stanley Cups, two Conference Championships, and nine Division Championships.
Food & Beverage 3
The concessions at the Pepsi Center tend to provide the typical stadium/arena fare. We are disappointed that there are not any regional specialties offered at any of the stands. One exception to this is in the area of alcoholic beverages. Colorado probably has one of the largest number of microbreweries in the country and a good cross selection of these microbrews are at the concession stations offering beer.
For those looking for a sit-down meal inside the arena, the Breckenridge Brewery Mountain House fits the bill. Its mountain lodge theme will transport you to the Rockies… while sparing you the frosty temperatures.
The PepsiVision scoreboard/video board measures 47’ X 27’ and does a great job of providing replays and important stats throughout the game. It also has HD projection capabilities to provide stunning graphics on the ice.
The Avalanche honor their elite players from the past with banners hanging from the ceiling. These players include Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and Milan Hejduk. Bourque, Roy, Sakic and Forsberg are also members of the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame. In addition, the Avalanche have banners hung for each of their division, conference and Stanley Cup seasons. Visitors to the Pepsi Center will realize they will see top notch hockey when they see this impressive display.
The Avs do a great job in creating a fun environment for the whole family. They have competitions involving pee wee teams between periods, but also provide analysis of the key plays of the period and interviews of Avs players for more hard-core fans.
The Pepsi Center is conveniently located near downtown Denver’s most popular attractions. Larimer Square is Denver’s ground zero (literally… it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and is home to the best shopping, dining, and entertainment in the Mile High City.
Interested in sports?… depending on the calendar, you can choose to attend a Denver Nuggets basketball game at the Pepsi Center, catch a Broncos football game at Mile High Stadium or a late season Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field. All of these venues are located within two miles of each other, and if there is a night game, you might catch two sports events in one day.
If you prefer cultural activities or have kids in tow, you are in luck. The Pepsi Center is within walking distance of the Denver Center of Performing Arts, the Museum of Cultural Arts, and the Children’s Museum of Denver.
There are several restaurants in close proximity to the arena for a pre or post game meal. These include Society Sports and Spirits, Rhein Haus Denver and Ted’s Montana Grill.
The Avalanche have one of the most loyal fan bases in the NHL. At one point the team had a ten-year period where they sold out 496 straight games. They are amongst the loudest fan bases in the NHL as well.
The Avalanche’s mascot, Bernie, always comes to the rescue whenever the crowd’s enthusiasm begins to wane. He is assisted by the Skyline Drumline in encouraging greater enthusiasm from the crowds
The Pepsi Arena is easily accessed by several modes of transportation. The arena is conveniently located just off I-25, the major north/south interstate in the area. Coming from the North: take I -25 South and exit at Speer Avenue. Go south on Speer until you reach Chopper Circle. Turn right onto Chopper Circle. Coming from the South: take I-25 North and exit at Auraria Parkway. The Pepsi Center will be on your left. Other vehicle options include Lyft or taxi, which depart from the west side of the arena.
There is also a light rail station on the northwest side of the arena. Trains serving the C, E and W lines depart from this station. For detailed information on public transportation options, go to www.rtd-denver.com
Denver is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. Pepsi Center has bike racks immediately outside of the arena. Fans wishing to rent a bike will find a B-Station located a block south of the arena. For more information on this mode of transportation, go to www.denver.bicycle.com
Once inside the Pepsi Center you will find wide concourses and excellent signage to guide you to your seat, restrooms or a specific concession area.
There are more than 500 HD TV monitors throughout the Pepsi Arena, so you should not miss any of the action.
Return on Investment 3
The Avalanche draw very well, and ticket prices reflect this popularity. Expect ticket prices beginning at $45 for a game. The concessions offered at the Pepsi Center offer much more variety than is usually found at NHL venues. Some of the premium food selections result in a higher than average cost for food. We suggest you enjoy a pregame dinner at one of the many restaurants located close by, leaving room to enjoy snacks and beverages at the arena.
Parking begins at $20 in any of the non-premium lots. We suggest you purchase a day pass on the light rail system for $5.20 local / $9 regional, which has a station right at the Pepsi Center. A day pass provides you with an unlimited number of trips within the one day period, which allows you to visit the many interesting attractions throughout the Denver area.
Lodging in the downtown area runs in the range of $200 / night and can be much more expensive during special event periods. We suggest you look at some lodging options in the close suburbs that are located near an RTD light rail station in order to control your cost.
There are some very interesting pieces of art inside the Pepsi Center. There are several statues and 3-D visuals on the west concourse. The Grand Atrium is home to a large aerial sculpture depicting hockey and basketball players. The team also has some of the most impressive graphic projections on the ice during the pregame introductions.
Pepsi Arena strictly enforces a Ball/Puck in Play Rule during the action. This rule allows people to be in the aisles or moving along a row only when there is a stoppage on the ice or on the court. This improves the fan experience a great deal.
A Kids Zone behind section 375 offers children the opportunity to test their skills on one of many hockey and basketball simulators.
Among the other events that have been held at the Pepsi Center are the 2001 NHL All Star Game, the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the 2005 NBA All Star Game, the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four Men’s Championship and the 2012 Women’s Final Four.
The Pepsi Center continues to be the premiere venue in the Rocky Mountain region for indoor professional sports. It provides more than 200 nights of sports competition and concerts per year for the residents of the Mile High City.
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For those who haven’t been to the Pepsi Center for an Avalanche game in the last few years, it may be time for a revisit. Tickets are available and are inexpensive this season. There have been many upgrades worth checking out. And, visiting downtown Denver is always a treat and an adventure.