The Colorado Avalanche are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver, Colorado. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche are the only team in their division not based in the Central Time Zone; the team is situated in the Mountain Time Zone. Their home arena is Pepsi Center. Their general manager is Joe Sakic.
The Avalanche were founded in 1972 as the Quebec Nordiques and were one of the charter franchises of the World Hockey Association. The franchise joined the NHL in 1979 as a result of the NHL–WHA merger. Following the 1994–95 season, they were sold to the COMSAT Entertainment Group and relocated to Denver.
In the club's first season in Denver, the Avalanche won the Pacific Division and went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup in the season following a relocation. Among teams in the major North American professional sports leagues, only the National Football League (NFL)'s Washington Redskins have also accomplished the feat. This was the first major professional sports championship a Denver-based team would bring to the city.
In the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils 4–3 to win their second and most recent championship. As a result, they are the only active NHL team that has won all of its Stanley Cup Final appearances. Coincidentally, the Devils had preceded the Avalanche in Denver; they were called the Colorado Rockies.
The Avalanche have won nine division titles (including their first eight in a row in Denver, the longest such streak in NHL history) and qualified for the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons in Denver; this streak ended in 2007.