Q&A: Avs’ Fan/Community Development Dept.
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Tyler Reddy, Doug Fulton and Lesley Linscott head up the community and fan development efforts for the Colorado Avalanche. Recently, the trio chatted with Colorado Rubber about their initiatives and relationship with the local youth hockey community.
Colorado Rubber: Talk a little about your role as it relates to the Colorado youth hockey family.
Colorado Avalanche: Our department is designed to expand the Avalanche brand in the community – to provide opportunities to grow the game at all age and ability levels, to support and strengthen existing programs and introduce new players to the sport. We use all of the assets of the team – the players, coaches, staff, mascot, alumni, Avs Better Halves and Ice Girls – to make that happen.
CR: The Avs take a lot of pride in their Quebec Qualifier, and the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament.
CA: Our connection with the Quebec Tournament stems back to the organization’s days when it was the Quebec Nordiques.
The relationship former Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix and current head coach Patrick Roy have maintained and fostered have made the Quebec Qualifier and Quebec Tournament what it is today for Colorado’s Pee Wee teams.
The Qualifier is an opportunity for qualifying teams to play at Pepsi Center for an opportunity to win what will be an experience of a lifetime – all while promoting sportsmanship and a love for the game.
The winner of the Quebec Qualifier becomes the “Jr. Avalanche” for that particular season and receives full sponsorship from the Avalanche to attend the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament, including travel, lodging, uniforms and team activities.
Since the inception of the Qualifier 14 years ago, the Avalanche is proud to have been represented by teams from 10 different Colorado youth hockey associations at this prestigious tournament, and two have won championships in the International B division (this year’s Qualifier will run from Nov. 7-10).
CR: What kinds of programs get the Avalanche players out and interacting with the youth associations, and in what capacity?
CA: Player clinics are the main component. Players visit between 10-12 association practices each season to work with youth teams. We also run several other programs, including Break the Ice and Team Fit. Mini-Mite teams also have the opportunity to skate during the intermission at 18 Avalanche games during the season.
CR: What kind of emphasis do you place on programs outside the Denver Metro Area in terms of fan development?
CA: All programs statewide have the opportunity to play in the Quebec Qualifier, as well as skate as part of our Mini-Mite program and participate in our Youth Skater and Game Program Sales nights.
We recently traveled to Aspen with our Avalanche Alumni to participate in its annual Stirling Cup to help raise funds for Aspen Junior Hockey. This was the first year our alumni team participated in the event, and as a result it was the largest and most financially successful in the past 14 years. Our alumni team included Milan Hejduk, Pierre Turgeon, Brett Clark, Ken Klee, Rick Berry and Scott Parker.
CR: What are your thoughts on the growth and success of youth hockey in Colorado over the last few years?
CA: Our players, coaches and staff are committed to the growth of hockey here, and have been an integral part of its success throughout the state. We work hard to have an impact on players of all ages and provide unique programs that impact the lives of the kids.
We’re honored to work with players who handle every interaction with the fans in a professional manner, and they continue to set the highest standard in professional sports.
Since the team moved to Denver in 1995, the Avalanche Foundation had donated more than $14 million to Colorado non-profit organizations.
CR: What are some events on the horizon the local hockey community should mark on its calendar?
CA: Our Mile High Dreams Gala will take place at Pepsi Center on Nov. 18, and our signature fundraising event – the Colorado Avalanche Charity Brunch – will be held on March 1, 2015.
For more information on the Avalanche’s fan and community development events and activities, click the “Community” tab at Avalanche.NHL.com.