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Last year's rank: 101
Title track: 25
Fan relations: 32
Stadium experience: 42
Bang for the buck: 12
In 2013, the Avalanche were in a free fall, reeling after a season in which they finished with the second-worst record in the NHL, missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year and subsequently canned coach Joe Sacco. Then, that May, Colorado hit the jackpot twice. The club won the 2013 NHL draft lottery -- which it used to select 17-year-old forward Nathan MacKinnon with the top overall pick the following month -- and landed Hall of Fame goalie and franchise hero Patrick Roy as coach. Roy and MacKinnon helped lead a dramatic turnaround in 2014.
The Avs matched a franchise record for victories, winning their first division championship since 2003, Roy's final season as a player; MacKinnon skated away with the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and Roy won the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) in, well, a landslide. The Avs made an equally dramatic jump in our Ultimate Standings, vaulting 85 spots -- the best improvement of any team. Not surprisingly, Colorado also made significant strides in the categories of coaching (up 113) and players (up 73).
And one of the best shows on ice is still affordable. Colorado ranked 12th overall in bang for the buck thanks to the second-cheapest average ticket price ($40.62) in the NHL behind only the Stars. Just another reason fans are Rocky Mountain high on their Avs.