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Back in time: Eurolanche Invasion I

Back in time: Eurolanche Invasion IPresident and founder of Eurolanche, David Puchovsky remembers back on his very first Eurolanche Invasion. Besides other duties, he organizes all Invasions...

I was thinking about the organization of a trip for European fans to Denver in the winter of 2007 for the first time. It was a very spontaneous idea in the first year of Eurolanche existence - but with the meeting of Peter Budaj in the following summer of 2008, he really supported my idea when he promised us help with complimentary tickets to Avalanche games. I then decided that I had to start working on the organization of Eurolanche Invasion I. I soon called the Colorado Avalanche organization and informed them of our schedule; I simply could not wait for the start of this trip. It was much different than the following years as this was the very first time. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Of course our lack of experience was a kind of a handicap, but mainly after the experience of the first Invasion, the next Invasions could be easier organized.

 Author of this story David Puchovsky in the middle of the photo.

We flew in to Denver via Houston, Texas from Vienna, Austria via Frankfurt, Germany. The price of the airline ticket was very expensive, and I wouldn´t be able to buy it again today; but as I said we had no prior experience - we just wanted to go to Denver and see what would happen. Nobody believed there would ever be another Invasion again. After horrible travel problems (we missed our flight in Houston), we finally arrived in Denver in December 2008. My friend Jody warmly welcomed us at the airport and took care of us at her place for the following two weeks. I remember when she was driving us from the airport, I couldn´t believe that we had made it and that I was finally looking upon Denver and the Pepsi Center. It was true; The Eurolanche Fan club had finally made it’s way to Avalanche territory.

I don´t remember all the details of some of the other Avs games that I have visited over these years, but I will never forget game number one. This historical first Invasion game was hosted by the Avalanche in Pepsi Center against nobody else than the Detroit Red Wings. Ruslan Salei, (whom died in that horrible plane crash with his entire KHL team in 2011) scored the first goal. Colorado was leading 3-0, but Detroit came back to tie up the game. The game went to a shootout, and our Avs won it after marvelous saves by Budaj. Could we wish for more? I doubt it. After the end of the game we met with all players for the first time. It was a great atmosphere and it was unbelievable that fans from small European countries would be inside the private zone of Pepsi Center with the team. These moments would repeat in the following five games. The Avs won four out of six games during the Invasion including a win against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburg Penguins.

There was never a plan for each day of this Invasion, I just wanted to be in Denver and meet new friends, fans, and have a great experience. We also met with two representatives of the Avalanche organization and introduced them our goals, plans and activities. They heard us and found out what the Eurolanche was. A great addition of this trip was also getting to have lunch with Peter Budaj and Marek Svatos, and of course the very first interview with Altitude TV directly during the game vs. Detroit. I have never been so nervous in my life.

I will always remember whilst on that trip, buying more souvenirs than I ever have in my life at that time. Why? Because we didn´t believe we would be back any time soon. We guessed it incorrectly; Eurolanche and Eurolanche Invasions have grown upwards with European fans and fans across the globe on an incredible level. 

Here’s to the future…

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David Puchovsky, Slovakia, eurolanche@eurolanche.com
25/12/2016 - 08:00

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