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The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL)The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference, and play their home games at Ball Arena, which they share with the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association. 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. During their 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 relocated NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. Among teams in the major North American professional sports leagues, only the National Football League (NFL)'s 1937 Washington Redskins have also accomplished the feat. This was also the first major professional sports championship a Denver-based team brought 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 Finals appearances. The Avalanche have won ten division titles since relocating to Denver (and set the league record for most consecutive division titles at nine in a row from 1995 to 2003; one in Quebec, and the rest in Colorado), and qualified for the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons after relocation; this streak ended in 2007.
The Buffalo Sabres are a professional ice hockey team based in Buffalo, New York. The Sabres compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member ofThe Buffalo Sabres are a professional ice hockey team based in Buffalo, New York. The Sabres compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference. The team was established in 1970, along with the Vancouver Canucks, when the league expanded to 14 teams. The Sabres have played their home games at KeyBank Center since 1996, having previously played at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium since their inception. The Sabres are owned by Terry Pegula, who purchased the club in 2011 from Tom Golisano. The team has twice advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975 and to the Dallas Stars in 1999. The Sabres, along with the Canucks, are the longest continuously running active NHL franchises to have never won the Stanley Cup. The Sabres have the longest active playoff drought in the NHL, at ten seasons, tying an NHL record. The French Connection line of the early 1970s consisted of Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert. All three players have had their sweater numbers (11, 7 and 14, respectively) retired and a statue erected in their honor at KeyBank Center in 2012.