DENVER — Ryan Clark sat in his Arvada home chuckling to himself. He wore his Avs jersey and a big grin remembering that day in January when he got that fateful letter.
"I wish I could find it so I can show you," he said. "It was them banning me from Ball Arena for the remainder of the Avalanche season," he said with a laugh. "Like I said, well worth every single bit of it."
Clark can laugh now because he knows his friend and fellow hardcore Avs fan Kyle Stark probably is, too.
"Thick as thieves I guess is the best way to put it, ya know. I’d Facetime the games for him and we’d watch them together do things like that," Clark said. "Then got that phone call that day."
Last December, Kyle's family called Clark to tell him his best friend died. Kyle was 31 years old and a few days shy of celebrating Christmas with his family.
His funeral was Avs themed. Clark wore a jersey, Kyle's mom passed out pucks and Clark then took Kyle's ashes to the Avs game the next day.
"At that point, I kind of looked at them and was like, I'd like to get 'em on the ice. If he had to pick where his ashes went, it's going to be that ice."
Clark sprinkled some of Kyle's ashes over the rink wall. Seconds later, a Zamboni did the rest.
"Immediately I turned around and walked away and a younger usher was like, 'What was that?' and I was like, 'I got to be honest with ya that was my buddy Kyle.' I was like, 'Well he passed away and his funeral service was yesterday and those were some of the ashes I spread on the ice and he's like, 'Oh man, I totally understand that, but they want to talk to you up there.'"
Clark accepted his fate. He left Ball Arena and watched from afar as Kyle helped the Avs secure an overtime win against the Maple Leafs that day.
"Passion is one thing and the way he dealt with the Avs was beyond that," Clark explained. "It was that much love for it so to me, the consequences were well worth it."
No one knows the Avs' fate this year but one thing is for sure: they can count on Kyle for the assist.
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