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Back in time: Eurolanche Invasion XII

Back in time: Eurolanche Invasion XIIBostjan Cernensek became the very first Eurolanche member from Slovenia to take part in the Invasion project. This is his recap of Invasion XII.

The Eurolanche Invasion XII began on February 11, 2020. We made our way to Vienna Airport from different parts of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. After a quick stop in London, where we picked up the last member of the Invasion XII group, we were on our way to Denver. The flight was smooth and we even made up some lost time, all of which came in handy as we had to be quick to make it to our first game against the Ottawa Senators. The game was solid, if unspectacular, but the Avalanche emerged victorious, picking up the shutout along the way – a perfect start to my very first Invasion.

It was a perfect start to a five game homestand, but the tides turned quickly, as Colorado lost in regulation to both Washington and Los Angeles in the Stadium Series game. While both losses were tough to swallow, the loss against LA hurt even more, as it dropped Colorado to a 0-2-0 record in outdoor games. The game’s venue, Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium, came with many (mostly logistical) problems, but many of them would’ve been forgotten had the Avs beaten the Kings. Still, despite all the problems surrounding the event, the outdoor game was an incredible experience. 

The summary was written by Bostjan Cernensek (fourth from the right in the second row in the photo).

While the focal point of the Invasion was always going to be the Avalanche, we also visited several beautiful spots not only in the city of Denver, but in Colorado State as well, such as the the Red Rocks Amphitheater and Garden of the Gods. The Invasion also included shopping. And I mean a lot of shopping… We also attended a couple of practices at the Family Sports Center and were able to get some autographs, including, but not limited to, Joe Sakic, Pavel Francouz and Joonas Donskoi. We also managed to attend game-day practice at the Pepsi Center and the team’s outdoor practice at Falcon Stadium prior to the game against the Kings.

Colorado earned points in the remaining home games – an overtime loss to Tampa Bay and a win against the New York Islanders. After the Islanders game, we waved Denver goodbye and embarked on our trip West to Los Angeles.

The Invasion continued with two more games in California and a four-day road trip back to Colorado. Prior to our first game in California, we made a quick trip to Tijuana. It was very interesting to visit Mexico, but we sadly didn’t have much time to spare, as the game against Anaheim awaited. The Avs won the low-scoring affair, and they did it again the very next day to exact some revenge on LA.

Three days in California went by fast and we embarked on our road trip back to Denver afterwards. The first stop was Las Vegas, with additional stops along the famous Route 66. Our next stop was in Arizona, first at the Hoover Dam and then at the astounding Grand Canyon, before overnighting in Page. The next leg took us from Arizona through Utah to Colorado, with more stops along the way, including the Four Corners Monument. From Grand Junction, where we spend one night, we headed directly to Denver. Ultimately, the road trip brought our 17-day mileage total up to 3490 miles (5617 kilometers). 

We had one more Avs game to attend before we had to embark on out flight back home. This one was against Buffalo and the Avs were able to extend their winning streak to four. With the win, the Invasion ended with a 5-2-1 record. All that was left for us to do was fly back home and remember all the great plays on the ice we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing, all the beautiful places we’ve seen, and the awesome people we’ve met.

All in all, the Invasion was a fantastic experience and if anybody is unsure whether to join one of these in the future – don’t be. It’s definitely worth it. Seeing my first Avalanche game was a dream come true, as was meeting the legendary Joe Sakic. These were just two fulfilled reams in a long line of highlights over the 17 day trip that I will cherish forever.

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NHL on Nov 11, 2017: "Eurolanche is the world's largest Colorado Avalanche fan club."