1996 was a great year to be a sports fan in the Denver area. To begin with, the city got the Quebec Nordiques to relocate and become the Colorado Avalanche, enabling Denver to join the ranks of cities with teams in all four major professional sports leagues. Only four years earlier, they only had the NFL (Broncos) and NBA (Nuggets). Now, with getting an expansion team in MLB (Rockies) and the relocation of the Nordiques, Denver had reached the big time.
That alone would be reason to celebrate, but then some serious winning immediately followed. While some cities watched their hockey teams in vain for decades, hoping for a Stanley Cup, the people of the Rocky Mountain area cheered the Avalanche to a championship in their first year in town.
It looked like there might be multiple titles in 1996. The Denver Broncos rode atop the AFC all year and were a threat to win what would be John Elway’s first Super Bowl. The Colorado Buffaloes were a consistent national college football contender at this time, and they were in the hunt to win the whole thing as late as Thanksgiving weekend.
Neither football hope panned out—the Broncos lost a devastating playoff game, and the Buffs came up a hair short against Nebraska. But when you combine this strong showing in football with a Stanley Cup run in hockey, you have the makings of a great year. 1996 was a Rocky Mountain High in the world of sports.
Read more about the 1996 Colorado Avalanche
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