With the Colorado Avalanche now in the semifinal round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference’s hub city of Edmonton, the organization continues to bolster its virtual programming. This includes producing segments to spotlight youth hockey teams that had qualified for their respective state championships in the spring but had their season finales upended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through Avs Virtual Gameday, a second-screen experience, viewers who watch postseason broadcasts of Avalanche games will be able to tune in for bonus coverage on a laptop or tablet to get access to special features that are meant to help make the matchup feel more like a Pepsi Center home-game experience.
Connor Duckhorn, program manager for amateur hockey development with the Avalanche, spoke about the virtual programming and highlighted how it impacts the Centennial State’s youth hockey scene.
“What we’re doing is we’re recognizing the team that didn’t get to play in their state championships,” Duckhorn said. “We’re recognizing those teams for the great season they had during the Avs game — just giving the kids a shoutout for all the good things they did this year.”
In a normal hockey season, the top-four teams in the rankings per age level and classification qualify for the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) State Championship.
“Alan Roach is actually interviewing two players and the coach during the second intermission for a couple minutes, recognizing these guys for the great season they had and trying to emulate the in-game experience the best they can,” Duckhorn said.
Other second-screen features include coverage of the contest’s starting lineups, game day rituals, goal celebrations and commentary from Altitude Sports broadcasters. Jake Schroeder, who sings the national anthem at all Avalanche games in the Pepsi Center, even contributes, singing the national anthem from his living room as part of the second-screen offering, according to Duckhorn.
There’s also opportunities to win prizes for those who enter to win by scanning a QR code.
Another Pepsi Center staple that’s still being offered with the team in Edmonton is the opportunity to participate in the team’s 50/50 raffle. The raffle evenly splits net proceeds from ticket sales between the winner and CAHA, Kroenke Sports Charities, and other youth sports programs in the state. The next raffle will end on Sept. 2 at 9 p.m. MST following the conclusion of the Avs’ best-of-seven games semifinal series against the Dallas Stars.
“Our marketing department is just trying to emulate the in-game experience, as it would be if we were playing the games in the [Pepsi Center],” Duckhorn said.
Watch this how-to video with Rachel Richlinski, the Avs’ in-game host, to learn more about the second-screen experience and visit ColoradoAvalanche.com/VirtualGameday to watch during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Viewers can also access the platform via Facebook.
Editor's note: Avs' youth Team of the Game interviews were conducted during the second intermission of semifinal matchups prior to Game 7 . As part of Game 7's programming, the youth segment has been moved to the first intermission.
Here's Colorado's schedule and results for games against the Stars during the semifinals:
|Best-of-seven series||Date||Game time and results|
|Game 1||Saturday, Aug. 22||Dallas won 5-3; Stars lead series 1-0|
|Game 2||Monday, Aug. 24||Dallas won 5-2; Stars lead series 2-0|
|Game 3||Wednesday, Aug. 26||Colorado won 6-4; Stars lead series 2-1|
|Game 4||Sunday, Aug. 30||Dallas won 5-4; Stars lead series 3-1|
|Game 5||Monday, Aug. 31||Colorado won 6-3; Stars lead series 3-2|
|Game 6||Wednesday, Sept. 2||Colorado won 4-1; series tied 3-3|
|Game 7||Friday, Sept. 4||Dallas won 5-4; Stars advance to Western Conference Final|
Below is a slideshow featuring this year's CAHA State Championship Series qualifiers.
Members get access to exclusive content, including the stories below.