1976/77: After two failed seasons in Kansas City, the Scouts moved to Denver, taking up the void left by the Denver Spurs of the WHA who had moved to Ottawa in the middle of the previous season. The newly renamed Colorado Rockies got off to a terrific start, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in their first game at McNichols Arena on October 6th. Early in the season, the Rockies picked up wins by either the goon tactics of wild man Steve Durbano, after losing three in a row, Durbano did what he did best to get the Rockies going. It worked a few times, including one game against the Chicago Black Hawks, where he took out star Stan Mikita igniting a fight, which helped provide the spark for a comeback win. As February began, the Rockies were in playoff position. A scoring slump would expose the team’s faults as they struggled over the final six weeks to finish in last place with a record of 20-46-14.
1977/78: The Colorado Rockies felt they were too passive in their first season. To address this, the team added defenseman Barry Beck, who almost killed Marc Tardif in a savage on-ice attack during an exhibition game against the WHA’s Quebec Nordiques. Known more as a defensive defenseman in junior, Beck was astounded himself after a hat trick against the Minnesota North Stars, while scoring a career-high 22 goals. The Rockies would go on to fight and claw their way into the playoffs despite a less than stellar record of 19-40-21. In the playoffs, the Rockies would be beaten by the Philadelphia Flyers in two straight games.
1978/79: Before the season, Owner Jack Vickers sold the Colorado Rockies to Arthur Imperatore, who wanted to move the team to the Meadowlands in New Jersey. However, the NHL wouldn’t approve the move until the Meadowlands Arena was complete. On the ice, the Rockies would be unable to build off their first playoff appearance as they struggled all season, finishing in last place with an NHL worst 15-53-12 record, with no player scoring more than 24 goals.
1979/80: With a renewed commitment to on-ice toughness, the Colorado Rockies hired Don Cherry, who had a reputation of tough grinding teams ad their new coach. The Rockies would still struggle, finishing with a 19-48-13 record, as the Rockies finished with the worst record in the NHL again. Along the way, the Rockies would acquire star RW Lanny McDonald in a midseason trade with Toronto Maple Leafs. Following the season, the Rockies would fire Cherry replacing him with Bill MacMillan, who would become their eighth Coach in seven seasons dating back to Kansas City.
1980/81: Before the start of the season, the Colorado Rockies were sold again this time to Peter Gilbert, who also explored the possibility of a move to New Jersey. Lanny McDonald would become a fan favorite leading the Rockies in scoring with 35 goals and 46 assists. The Rockies would once again be a non-factor in the playoff race, finishing in fifth place with a 22-45-13 record.
1981/82: The Colorado Rockies continued to play with the specter of moving to New Jersey as they struggled again, finishing in dead last with a league worse record of 18-49-13. Following the season, the long-speculated move would become a reality as the Rockies are sold to John McMullen on May 27th as NHL owners finally approve their move to the New Jersey Meadowlands.
1982-1995: After the Rockies moved to New Jersey, Denver would become a minor league hockey town with an assortment of different teams, including the Grizzlies, who won the IHL championship in 1995. That same year while the former Rockies were winning the Stanley Cup as the New Jersey Devils, the city of Denver learned it would be getting another chance in the NHL as the Quebec Nordiques announced they were moving. Renaming themselves the Colorado Avalanche, the team would become an instant success winning the Stanley Cup in their first season in the Mile High City.
©MMXIV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Colorado Rockies or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only.
All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on Page created on February 27, 2003. Last updated on February 18, 2014 at 10:05 am.