History of “Colorado Avalanche” started in 1972 in Canadian Quebec, where the club “Quebec Nordiques” was born. “Nordiques” existed until 1995. It was the most unusual club in NHL because all announcements on its arena were solely in French. French-speaking Montreal is a town that is quite tolerant of English; however, the same can’t be said of a country town Quebec. “Nordiques” was an aggressively francophone club.
Strange as it may seem, it took the league founders a lot of time to come up with the idea to integrate the club from Quebec to WHA. In the beginning, they dreamt of Californian sun, and they even reached an agreement about the team in San Francisco. They also created a nickname; however, their dream didn’t come true. It turned out that Californian people ran out of money before the beginning of the first season. The club had to find a new home, so they came up with Quebec.
Naturally, the most French team of all French teams should be properly named. After thinking for a while, fans named their new favorite club “Nordiques.” This nickname is more than logical because Quebec was the northernmost city in NHL and WHA. Except for Edmonton and Calgary. Also, Vancouver and Winnipeg. But it was northern. Very northern.
A club emblem was also designed – the elephant carcass, which was a stylized letter “N” that looked like an “igloo” – Eskimo dwelling.
It also wasn’t hard to choose the colors: they were the same as on the French flag. Blue and red were the primary colors on the first uniform of “Nordiques.” One year after that, the shoulders of sweaters featured a logo – “fleur de Lys” – in French, which afterward became famous. As known, a lily is considered a symbol of royalty in France, and Quebec people consider this flower as a symbol of independence and connection to France.
It was the 1990s. The Canadian dollar was dropping, the competition with “Montreal” wasn’t met, the arena was obsolete, the hockey players didn’t feel enthusiastic about the country town where nobody speaks English. As a result, after the government of Quebec refused to provide the club with financial assistance, “Nordiques” was sold to Denver’s group of investors. This happened right after the loss in a playoff in 1995. On June 1, 1995, the team was relocated to Denver and renamed the “Colorado Avalanche.”
New owners decided to give the team a new nickname in Denver. Rumor had it that it would be “Rocky Mountain Extreme.” These nicknames were also considered: Bears, Cougars, Renegates, Outlaws. However, all of them got a lot of negative feedback. The new nickname was extravagant anyways – “Colorado Avalanche,” which is understandable as avalanches in the Rocky Mountains are rather common.
Logo for Colorado Avalanche was well suited, and there was a bigfoot print on the shoulders.
The club colors were burgundy, blue, grey, and black, featuring the zigzag-shaped design on the uniform in the “mountain” style.
The newly dressed club instantly rushed into the elite of NHL. Someone has to wait in vain for decades, but Denver people got snowed under this happiness like under the avalanche: the club with young superstars came with one Patrick Roy. They won Stanley Cup in the first year in a new place and threw a parade in Quebec with a prize made of foil.
Meaning and History
When the Nordiques left for Denver in 1995 season, naturally, their logo changed, too. A man named Michael Beindorff came up with the “A” part of the logo. This is where the idea of “Colorado Avalanche” came from.
1973 – 1985
The Nordiques started in 1973 with their famous red igloo logo. Half of the igloo was replaced with a hockey stick and a hockey puck. The outline of this image was blue. There was a wordmark “Nordiques” on top in blue and “Quebec” in blue on the bottom.
1985 – 1995
Some insignificant changes in the Colorado Avalanche logo were made 12 years after that. The wordmark and red circle were removed. The hockey stick as the entrance to the igloo remained. The colors became deeper, which gave volume to the image.
1995 – 1999
In the move to Colorado, they changed the emblem and nickname to “Colorado Avalanche.” As stated previously, Michael Beindorff developed a concept of the burgundy letter “А,” shaped like a mountain. A blue wave looking like an avalanche wraps around and over, led by a black puck at the end, in the shape of the letter “C.”
1999 – Present
The previous Colorado Avalanche logo wasn’t significantly changed. Only the colors were deeper, and graphic art was improved. Avalanche still wraps around the burgundy letter “А,” representing the team nickname.