How Blink-182’s All the Small Things aids Avalanche

DENVER — The background buzz from nearly 18,000 hockey fans at the Ball Arena during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals erupted into animated cheers during a TV break midway through the third period.

During Wednesday’s thrilling three-goal opener between Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, Blink 182 bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus appeared on the jumbotron with a recorded message. He gave the Avs-loyal crowd a shoutout and everyone knew what was to follow.

The first seconds of All the little thingsBlink-182’s 1999 classic, swept through the arena, already igniting rowdy fans who jumped up and down, waving their white and silver pom-poms in the air as they awaited the opening lyrics.

All the little things True caring, truth brings…

Over the past three NHL seasons, the song has become a staple of Avalanche home games, particularly in the third period. While it’s not played at every home game, it’s a tradition celebrated by Colorado fans and players alike, fueling the Avalanche’s urge to steal the lead or just hold it a few minutes longer — especially when they’re for playing themselves first Stanley Cup since 2001.

As the puck was about to fall, the song stopped. But the fans, as so often, continued to scream the lyrics of the catchy tune.

“It increases the excitement of the fans and their enthusiasm for the game, especially this year and in this playoff run,” said left winger JT Compher.

After a goalless end of regular time, Avalanche left wing Andre Burakovsky struck the winner just 83 seconds into extra time to give the home side a 1-0 straight lead.

Blink 182 fan and Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz said the tradition has changed the way he listens All the little things. Rather than being reminded of his Blink 182 fandom growing up, Francouz now said when he hears it on or off the ice, he associates it with memories or hopes of winning with his team.

“Usually there’s a good atmosphere in the arena and we win, then they play the song,” he said.

“I feel like the fans are waiting for it, especially lately. And they get more and more excited, so they sing louder. So it’s definitely interesting to hear when they take off and sing alone.”

Francouz speculated that his teammates would likely agree that it was the team’s unofficial theme song.

That’s thanks in large part to Craig Turney, better known to Avalanche fans as DJ Triple T, who’s been DJing since 2007. After hearing the song in the fall of 2019, Turney performed it at the next Colorado game, and it quickly became a (usually) third-period tradition.

The Avalanche’s game presentation team even sent instructions to the NHL’s Edmonton bubble in 2020 on how and when to play All the little thingssaid Steve Johnston, executive producer of the game presentation for The Avalanche. When the team played at Ball Arena again the following season, the tradition continued and intensified. There is also a Dedicated Twitter account to the ritual.

“It really picked up speed this year,” Johnston said. “And our fan base just took it and rode it. It was just this great thing that our fans really jumped at. They sing along to a lot of songs, but it’s about something All the little things that just stuck.”

Turney declined an interview for this story.

There’s no hard and fast rule as to when to play the Blink 182 anthem or not, Johnston explained. It’s based on the feel and flow of the game and the crowd, and it’s not something he and Turney are trying to force. The song often plays when the Avalanche win, but not always, as it did in Game 1 on Wednesday when it was a tie.

Center Nico Sturm, who only joined the Colorado squad in March, compared All the little things to the traditions of other NHL teams – although some of these are a little shakier. The Carolina Hurricanes have their Storm Surge, Detroit Red Wings fans toss octopuses, Nashville Predators fans go for Catfish, and the Avalanche crowd rocks to Blink-182.

“I think that’s one of the better traditions in the league,” Sturm said. “It’s nice for the fans to have that one thing to rally around. And of course the atmosphere is always great when this song is on.”

It’s a fun song and – especially if you’re familiar with it, as die-hard Avs fans are now if they weren’t before – it’s almost impossible not to empathize with the music. Even if the Avalanche win, the tune, combined with 18,000 angry fans in the ball arena shouting the lyrics, will give players an extra boost to hold on to victory, they said.

“It definitely gives you goosebumps and gives you an extra little boost of motivation,” said right winger Logan O’Connor. “It’s quite uplifting for everyone and just the dynamic or atmosphere feels like it’s shifting more towards us, which is quite special.”

Of course, several players said that when they’re on the ice and highly focused, it’s often hard to hear the song. But the bank is a different story, and they’re “certainly feeding on that energy,” Compher said.

Sometimes this causes players, especially on the bench, to bounce along with Blink-182. Center Alex Newhook said he’s one of those players who sometimes catches himself singing along with the noisy fans.

“I’m sure I could sing the main chorus that the fans sing and stuff, but I don’t know if I could sing the whole song,” joked defense attorney Cale Makar.

Several Avalanche players said they weren’t big Blink 182 fans, but they know at least a few words about it now All the little things. Even general manager Joe Sakic said he “figured out” some of the lyrics.

But not everyone else on the team does.

“I’m Franco-Canadian, so I often just sing the syllables,” said right winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel, adding that it also gives him the chills and he “surely” nods along on the bench – and Hockey Twitter also noticed.

Sturm added: “That usually means we’re in a pretty good position in the game, right? Hopefully we can hear it a few more times.”

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