In July 2013, Scott and Heidi Moore achieved the title of godan, or fifth-degree black belt. Since they have over 50 years of experience combined and have acted as coaches and participants in countless competitions (including the Olympic trials and Paralympics), the belts were well-earned. At Denver Judo, they and a team of first-, second-, and third-degree black belts teach the art of judo to practitioners of all ages and abilities, including those who are blind or otherwise visually impaired. The martial art focuses on throws and grappling as opposed to punches and kicks.
On April 10, 2012, the Central Hockey League announced the Denver Cutthroats as the league's newest member. A little more than six months later, on October 19, the team played its first game ever—a 4–3 overtime loss to the Missouri Mavericks. Despite the outcome, the game marked the return of hockey to Denver Coliseum, which hadn't been skated professionally since the IHL's Denver Rangers' 1988-89 season. As an affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, the Cutthroats—a name chosen in honor of Denver's state fish, the Greenback cutthroat trout— immediately developed a connection with local hockey fans. Fans get to share their support directly with The Stream, a place right outside the home team's locker room covered with inspirational messages and lasagna recipes inscribed on paper fish by the Cutthroat faithful.
Derby was reborn in the early 2000s as a ferociously fun sport. Nearly all modern leagues are composed of female, DIY-spirited bands of punky costumed, vicious-monikered rascals who shove each other on traditional quad roller skates. The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, Denver's original all-women flat-track roller derby league, is operated by the more than 40 skaters who makeup its six teams: home teams Red Ridin' Hoods, Sugar Kill Gang, Dooms Daisies, Kill Scouts, and traveling teams, Fight Club and the Contenders. These fearless athletes leave bouts with sprained shoulders, bruises, and hematomas, which is nothing compared to the competitors' pain (the ladies took home second place in the 2009 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association regional tournament and fourth in the national tournament).
The internationally acclaimed Big Air event makes its inaugural American appearance in Denver with two evenings of competition that pair a roster of global champs with a tremendous 300-foot-long jump. Tuesday, January 25 opens with the Nature Valley Big Air Challenge, pitting famed male freestyle skiers against one another to perform their best air-defying tricks while simultaneously slicing potatoes into miniature busts of Shaun White. Afterward, ski fans can cheer on the winners at the awards ceremony (8:15 p.m.), before being treated to a concert by Grammy-nominated rockers Switchfoot.
Even though they haven't always played under the same name, or even in the same city, the Avalanche franchise has consistently enjoyed success on the ice. It was 1972 when the Quebec Nordiques joined the now defunct World Hockey Association, which eventually merged with the NHL prior to the 1979-80 season. The Nordiques played a total of 16 seasons in the NHL before moving to Denver, where they became the Avalanche and immediately won the Stanley Cup—the first NHL team ever to do so in their first season after relocation. In 2001, the Avs struck again in dominating fashion, collecting 118 points, reclaiming the sports world's best trophy. In total, the franchise has made 21 playoff appearances, highlighted by a string of 11 straight from 1994–2005.