Jake Gross waited a long time for the Colorado Avalanche to hoist the Stanley Cup in Denver, but sometimes, he said, it felt like he waited ever longer for a reliable hockey bar.
“I realized there were no good hockey spots to go watch the games, especially because of the issue with blackouts with the Avalanche and Altitude and all that,” he said, referencing the dispute between cable TV provider Comcast and the Altitude network, which caries the games.
“So I waited around for a few years hoping someone would open a hockey bar, and still no cigar.”
That’s when Gross decided to be the change he wanted to see in the local sports bar scene. On Sept. 9, he and business partner Aaron Beaudoin opened STiX Crafthouse in Arvada (5777 Olde Wadsworth Blvd.), where hockey fans can come to watch the puck drop any time throughout the season.
“We do have DirecTV and Altitude, so we will be getting all the games,” Gross confirmed.
That includes preseason, which began at the end of September. The 2022-23 National Hockey League regular season starts on Oct. 7 with two games played overseas in Prague. The Avs take on the Chicago Blackhawks at home in their season opener on Oct. 12.
Fans who visit STiX Crafthouse will find games playing on 19 TVs between the 5,500-square-foot restaurant and patio, as well as on a 108-inch projection screen inside. And when hockey is not on, the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies and Denver Nuggets will take over. (If you’re a hockey fan who is not from around here, you’re welcome to ask to change the channel to your home team, he added.)
The kitchen serves up American and Canadian dishes, fittingly, such as burgers, sandwiches, poutine and appetizers like wings and blistered shishito peppers. Pair them with a Colorado-made beer from the bar’s 20 taps or a hockey-themed cocktail, like the Flying V (gin, raspberry schnapps and lemon juice) or the Puck Bunny (whiskey, peach vodka, grenadine, lime juice and Coke).
Once nice and warmed up, patrons can try their luck on the bubble hockey table or at a game of foosball. The bar recently hosted a bubble hockey tournament to celebrate its grand opening.
Gross hopes STiX Crafthouse will be a welcome addition to an already thriving hockey community in Arvada. That’s why he plans to partner with local rinks and clubs to support their events, and help connect new players to recreational teams.
Though STiX has been in the works for about two years, Gross just barely missed the opportunity to celebrate the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup win at his own bar. But he’s hopeful about this season’s prospects, despite veteran Nazem Kadri’s departure.
“Personally, I like that we have kept our defense. We signed the crucial players we need to keep winning the cup, and I think our defense had a big factor in the win last year,” he said. “Fortunately, we can hope for just as good of a season this year and a ride off of last year.”
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