Who the Heck are the Colorado Eagles?

Spreading the love to Minor League Hockey

Dominic+Toninato%2C+Tyson+Jost%2C+and+AJ+Greer+of+the+Colorado+Eagles+sitting+on+the+bench+waiting+for+their+next+shift+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Who the Heck are the Colorado Eagles?

Dominic Toninato, Tyson Jost, and AJ Greer of the Colorado Eagles sitting on the bench waiting for their next shift

Dominic Toninato, Tyson Jost, and AJ Greer of the Colorado Eagles sitting on the bench waiting for their next shift

Peyton East

Dominic Toninato, Tyson Jost, and AJ Greer of the Colorado Eagles sitting on the bench waiting for their next shift

Peyton East

Peyton East

Dominic Toninato, Tyson Jost, and AJ Greer of the Colorado Eagles sitting on the bench waiting for their next shift

Peyton East, Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Regardless if a person is a hockey fan or not, they’ve probably heard of Colorado’s NHL team– the Avalanche. The case is not the same for the Colorado Eagles, the feeder team that most Avalanche players go through before they make it to the big league. The Eagles often go underappreciated, and tend to be overlooked.

Most people have never heard of the Colorado Eagles, and probably have no idea who they are. Surprisingly, there are many minor leagues that players must ascend through before making it to the National Hockey League (NHL).  The Eagles are currently playing in the American Hockey League (AHL), the last step before the pros.

When Avalanche players get hurt, they rely on calling up players from the Eagles to fill in their roster — meaning the players are basically interchangeable. If an athlete is struggling to produce points on the Avalanche, then the coach and general manager have every right to send them down to the Eagles.

A lot of prospects: players drafted by the Avalanche that aren’t ready to play in the NHL can continue to develop their playing skills with the Colorado Eagles. This helps mature their play, and better prepare these young talents for the major leagues. Every team in the NHL has a minor league affiliate team.

Think of it as a ladder: at the very top would be the NHL, where the best of the best play. Right below that is the AHL, and under that is the ECHL (the East Coast Hockey League). Followed by them is the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), or the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

The Colorado Eagles just switched from the ECHL to the AHL this year, and are currently in the middle of their first season in the new league. They won the championship–, the Kelly Cup–, two years in a row before leaving the ECHL. So, it is easy to say that the Eagles were ready for a new challenge.

It was perfect timing, because the Avalanche were sharing a feeder team with fellow NHL team the St. Louis Blues. They shared the San Antonio Rampage, which was a struggle–  as typically when someone gets called up, they don’t have much notice. Flying from Texas to Colorado in the middle of the night and then trying to play the next day can be hard. Now, the Eagles are only an hour long drive away from the Pepsi Center, the home of the Avalanche.

Despite not being to the big leagues yet, the players are still young and hopeful for their career. A couple of players have already been called up to the Avalanche recently, due to the injuries of some big names. One of these players is Ryan Graves, a large defenseman with jersey number 27. He got his first NHL call  right before Christmas, after Avs’ defenseman Nikita Zadorov was injured.

Graves played for eight games, and even recorded his first and second NHL goals. Two goals in eight games might not seem that good; however, it is important to keep in mind that Graves is a defender, and was only up for a short time. The NHL is no joke. The play is  a lot more physical, a lot more fast-paced, and requires players to be ready for anything at any moment. Obviously, this style of play will take time to get used to, but Graves made a good impression and will hopefully be called up again soon.

“It’s a special feeling,” Graves says in a locker room interview about scoring his first goal. He knows that any chance he gets to play up for the Avalanche is a huge opportunity for him. “I’m just happy to be here and get my opportunity to play.”

Graves, along with many other players, competes for a spot in the NHL every time he steps onto the ice.“I just try to improve each game,” says the young defenseman. “I’m learning from the league and I’m trying to do my best.”

A lot of people either haven’t heard of these players, or heard of the teams they play for– and this shouldn’t be the case. These young talents are the future of the NHL. Watching teams like the Colorado Eagles gives fans the opportunity to watch certain players rise through the ranks, and possibly even become a star. Fans can see players like Ryan Graves, and have a sort of insight as to what kind of players their team will be getting.

The Eagles play their home games at the Budweiser Event Center in Fort Collins. Their regular season ends about mid-April, though, hopefully, they make it to the playoffs and play longer. Tickets are drastically cheaper than Avalanche tickets, and can be purchased here