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Scenes from Finland as avalanche gets ready for games again

BY LARS MEHRENDORF, now for Colorado Hockey

TAMPERE, Finland –When Avalanche fans arrive in Tampere, the team is about to hit the ice.

After having some fun with the Finnish sauna traditions, the Avalanche embark on the official leg of their journey to Europe on Thursday. Both Colorado and Columbus will each hold a practice session at the Nokia Arena this afternoon.

After that, Coach Bednar and some players will face the media for questions. While traveling to Tampere, there were already some signs that Avalanche fans are excited about their team coming back to Europe.

After collecting my luggage at Helsinki airport, I was greeted by a red vintage Joe Sakic sweater. A group of Finnish Avalanche fans amused themselves outside the main hall with adult drinks. Later, on the bus to Tampere, Ava, who is a season ticket holder and made the trip all the way from Denver with her friend to watch the Avalanche play.

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“I didn’t even wait for official ticket prices when I ordered,” she said.


To be fair, there was also a young lady from Great Britain on the bus wearing a Blue Jackets bobble hat. Strolling through Tampere, however, there were no signs until Wednesday night that on Friday and Saturday, for the first time in three years, two NHL teams will be playing regular season games in Scandinavia.

But the fan festivities also kick off on Thursday nights, so maybe that’s when the buzz kicks in again.

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