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An Avalanche of Emotions

Posted 11/10/2022 by Akaash Raghunath

Peter McNab playing for the Boston Bruins in 1978. He also played for the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, and New Jersey Devils. photo by Tracy Myers

Former NHL star and Colorado Avalanche broadcaster Peter McNab dies at 70.

Drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 1972, Peter McNab played in the National Hockey League for 15 seasons and nearly 1000 games. He racked up 813 points playing for four different teams before retiring from his days on the ice after the 1986-87 season. Though he retired from playing, McNab didn’t leave hockey behind. Instead, he picked up a job as a color commentator for the New Jersey Devils, where he remained for eight seasons. At last, McNab moved to Denver, Colorado – where he had gone to college at DU – for the inaugural season of the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.

In the summer of 2021, McNab revealed that he had been battling with cancer. Despite this, he continued to commentate for the Avalanche during the 2021-22 season, where the team would ultimately end up winning their first Stanley Cup in over 20 years. About halfway through the season, in February of 2022, McNab announced that his cancer was in remission; however, it made a sudden resurgence later that year, resulting in his untimely death on November 6th. Former Avalanche forward Matt Duchene wrote that, “Pete absolutely loved the game and couldn’t have been a nicer man, and it was a pleasure to know him.” Whether he was on the ice or in the booth, Peter McNab was a hockey man to his core.

With McNab’s passing, the Altitude booth feels just a bit emptier. Fortunately, there are plenty of people willing to take up the mantle such as Kyle Keefe, a television reporter for Altitude Sports who has appeared as a guest speaker numerous times. Of course, Marc Moser remains in his position as Altitude’s play-by-play analyst. Having worked side by side with McNab as the Avalanche’s color commentators, Moser was hit hard by his partner’s sudden loss. “Please keep Peter’s wonderful family in your thoughts and prayers and remember him for the outstanding family man, hockey player, and broadcaster he was,” he posted on Twitter.

McNab’s final full season as an Avalanche broadcaster ended in a cup win. He had been there when they won in their first season in Colorado in 1996. He was there when they stole the cup again in 2001. McNab has been a part of the Avalanche’s legacy since the team moved from Quebec City in 1995. Losing him is losing a longstanding part of the team. During this difficult time the Altitude team is still doing their best to focus on the season at hand for the Colorado Avalanche. “This is life,” said Keefe. “Pete would want us to move on. He just would.” In 2021, less than a year before his passing, McNab was inducted into the hockey hall of fame alongside Stan Fischler and Paul Holmgren, forever ensuring that his memory will live on.