The Colorado Avalanche took care of business quickly and swept their way into the Stanley Cup Finals. They now await the winner of the Rangers vs. Lightning and undoubtedly will be well-rested in their quest for the Cup. But, before the Stanley Cup finals start, let’s look back at the Avs cool logo history.
Colorado fans inherited their hockey team less than 30 years ago. Since then, the franchise has carved out its place in the Central Division and the hearts of everyone in the Centennial State. Stick around to learn more about this club’s history, the meaning of the Colorado Avalanche logo, and why they moved West.
The Quebec Nordiques Logo History
When you delve into the history of Colorado’s pro-hockey franchise, you have to start in La Belle Province. The evolution of this Western Conference ice hockey team began in Quebec as the Nordiques. So, we’ve broken up their identity packages into two groups: the before “igloo” and the after “A.”
The original Quebec Nordiques were a charter member of the World Hockey Association, and the franchise joined the NHL in 1979 as part of a merger. The team’s logo, created in 1972, was an instantly recognizable emblem in sports because of its bright colors, minimalist style, and eye-catching geometry.
Dubbed the “red igloo” logo, this famous badge featured the shape of the letter “n,” which looks a bit like an igloo. The designer added a hockey stick leaning against the letter with a puck hovering above the blade. The words “Nordiques” and “Quebec” encircled the figure, and the entire mark was encased in a circle. The designer also used a white, blue, and red color palette in honor of the French flag.
The franchise used its original logo until 1985, when the Nordiques altered it slightly. The last emblem used the same colors. However, the creator ditched the wordmarks and the outline, leaving just the igloo-shaped letter, the stick, and the puck.
This final mark would serve the club well until the 1990s, when the Canadian dollar plummeted due to budget deficits and weak commodity prices. Quebec didn’t have the funds to support the hockey franchise, so the city sold its team to a group of investors in Denver, and the Nordiques relocated to Colorado on May 25, 1995.
Why the Name Avalanche?
Ascent Entertainment Group Inc., the team’s new owners, decided the Nordiques didn’t fit into Denver’s culture. So they needed a new name, and there were several on the table. One of the most popular monikers was Rocky Mountain Extreme. Other mascots made the shortlist, too, like Black Bears, Wranglers, and Cougars. However, fans didn’t respond well to any of them, so they needed something more appealing — and fast.
The team started training camp in September with Charlie Lyons as the franchise’s principal owner in 1995. This self-proclaimed ski-bum was the one who came up with the name Rocky Mountain Extreme in honor of his favorite pastime and the state’s extreme sporting games.
How Extreme Was Colorado’s Logo?
For investors, coming up with a brand new visual identity to replace the Quebec Nordiques’ iconic look would be a challenge. They wanted to carve out a style all their own, so the franchise hired Joe Bosack & Co. to come up with a new concept to grace the team’s officially licensed sports apparel and memorabilia. Lyons announced his intent to name the club the Rocky Mountain Extremes and instructed designer Michael Beindorff to get to work on a fitting mark.
Although most fans have never seen this extreme version of the team’s emblem, there were many renditions of the RME logo. They all included a large letter “X” that represented the owner’s idea of a cutting-edge look for his new winter sports team. Now, however, Creative Director Dan Price and his team had to develop a new design after the negative feedback they received from the Rocky Mountain Extreme concept.
Colorado Avalanche’s New Logo
The current Avalanche symbol is very similar to the version that first appeared in 1995. The mark has three essential elements. The most prominent feature, the letter “A,” represents the team name and the state’s famous Rocky Mountains. Beindorff also came up with this part of the logo, making the element red with silver and blue outlines.
White and blue hues represent snow and ice as an avalanche descends from the peak in smooth, sweeping lines. It flows around the A, where it finally crashes down atop a black puck on the right side of the mark. The logo blends all of the Avalanche’s official colors: blue, burgundy, silver, gray, and black. The designer’s use of natural elements adds to the symbol’s appeal, and it conveys the team’s powerful essence particularly well on sports collectibles.
The Colorado Avalanche would first take to the ice at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver against the Detroit Red Wings on October 6, 1995. This 3-2 win marked the return of professional hockey to the Mile High City after a 13-year absence. The newly dressed team won the Stanley Cup that first season in Colorado and five consecutive division trophies, so it’s safe to say the name stuck.
Colorado Avalanche’s Current Logo
The old Colorado Avalanche logo was the inspiration for the modern version. The last identity changes took place in 1999. However, there aren’t many differences between the marks. The first change was in the color palette. The original logo featured a red, not burgundy, letter “A,” and the letter was set against a crossbar, unlike the horizontal oval of the new one. This initial edition also had less shading than the current symbol.
Colorado’s Yeti Logo
No chronicle of Avalanche logo history is complete without mentioning the famous Bigfoot edition. It’s one of our favorite secondary Avalanche emblems by far. Colorado’s classically elegant color palette was used to draw the whimsical symbol back in 1996. It features a large yeti footprint in burgundy and silver. The artist then set the image over a blue circle. Fans loved seeing the mythical creature’s mark on the shoulder of the hockey club’s jerseys.
In 2000, the yeti logo got slightly darker hues, but by 2015, the franchise decided to tweak their player’s uniforms. They unveiled the new look just before the start of that season’s NHL Draft. Gone was the familiar footprint that graced the shoulder of Colorado’s home and away jerseys for two decades. So what took its place? A letter “C” for Colorado did. This throwback look is reminiscent of the state’s former club, the Rockies.
Colorado Avalanche “C” Logo
The Colorado Avalanche has two alternate logos, including the stand-alone “C” version. The franchise instituted this symbol in 2018, and it still uses the mark today. It’s simple — just a burgundy letter “C” with a white and silver border. In the center is a black puck with white trim. The owners chose this design because it pays homage to the Colorado state flag.
The Avalanche’s Triangle Emblem
The Colorado Avalanche also uses a triangle symbol. The team introduced it in 2016, and it’s still in rotation today. This alternate logo is a triangle with white with silver trim. The artist placed a maroon and white letter “C” against the navy blue mountain background. You’ll see this mark on the team’s third jersey.
Other Avalanche Logos
Colorado has used several other marks to represent momentous occasions in the team’s history. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, the franchise released its Stanley Cup Playoffs event logos, featuring the trophy above a crest and the classic “A” style emblem. There are also wordmark variants, with just “Colorado” and “Avalanche” typeset by Joe Bosack in 1999. The club even has a logo for its home arena, Ball Arena (formerly the Pepsi Center), that also features the team’s traditional mountain peaks.
Colorado’s 25th Anniversary Logo
The Avalanche franchise announced its plans for a 25th-anniversary mark and a few corresponding uniform updates on November 17, 2020. It’s one of the most exciting events in the club’s history, and to mark the occasion, they came up with a special emblem. There was some talk about bringing back a Nordiques-style logo, as three players, including the general manager Joe Sakic still had ties to the original Quebec franchise.
Unfortunately, the throwback uniform was just talk, and the franchise released an anniversary logo with the snow-pushed hockey puck seen in their primary logo. The Avs wore the logo as a patch on their jerseys all season long. Compared to the complexity of the 10th and 20th anniversary marks, the celebratory emblem looks a bit plain.
Of course, the predominant element of the logo is the big “25” in burgundy type. The embossed metallic outline around the numbers represents the team’s silver anniversary. The artist retained the iconic gravity-propelled column of snow that crashes down between the numbers, ending with the puck embedded in the bottom of the number five.
The team also hit the ice in fresh digs, including blue shorts, gloves, and helmets for both home and away appearances. The alternate sweater also features slightly different pants and gloves. Colorado’s players have worn black gear since 1995, and the change is refreshing, although dramatic, for fans and players alike.
The Colorado Avalanche continues to delight hockey fans worldwide. They’re one of the most colorful teams in all leagues — literally. So check back with us at Fanatics to stay updated on Colorado’s golden future.