A ground-breaking ceremony for the major Interstate 25 “Gap’’ construction project was held Aug. 30, 2018.
The National Hockey League announced Jan. 1, 2019, that the 2020 Stadium Series would be held at the Air Force Academy.
Didn’t everybody realize that this game was an atrocious idea?
Will anyone ever admit “We’re sorry?”
For 12½ months the NHL Air Farce was a catastrophe waiting to happen.
On Tuesday, the person who fell off a bridge west of the academy’s North Gate and died was identified as 31-year-old Adam Prewitt.
Also, it was announced that the Lewis-Palmer hockey game with Pine Creek scheduled at Falcon Stadium’s temporary rink Tuesday had been canceled. At least, somebody got that decision correct.
Three days after NHLDebacleGate, the blame game continues.
But those in charge have shut up and moved on. Nothing more to see here.
Except, Pikes Puck is not over and can’t be swept away.
Officials from the NHL, the Air Force Academy, the Avalanche, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and police authorities from the academy, El Paso County, Douglas County, Colorado Springs and the Colorado State Patrol must address the problems and seek solutions from the travesty.
Instead, they choose to point a specific finger at 43,574 sports spectators who didn’t leave home Saturday at 6 a.m. for a 6 p.m. game and aren’t concerned that many of them couldn’t get home before 6 a.m. Sunday.
Famous journalist Jimmy Breslin chronicled the inept 1962 Mets the “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?’’
Can’t anybody here take responsibility? Heads should roll. Heads of departments.
For examples, why didn’t anybody think of arranging 200 buses from Denver and Colorado Springs to the Air Force Academy? Why didn’t CDOT use their Interstate 25 scrolls to tell drivers to take Santa Fe or Parker south instead of exclaiming what everyone knew — Traffic is slow?
CDOT shut traffic down to one lane south because it decided to do pothole repair Saturday afternoon. Why weren’t their workers on the road at 6 a.m.?
Smart people grabbed Uber and Lyft rides to the stadium. Problem was the ride-share drivers refused to return later because of the gridlock. People were forced to walk miles off Air Force property and beg for rides.
I picked up several and took them to a convenience store on the east side of I-25, where more than 100 lost souls were stranded.
Brainless NHL executives who selected the academy as the Stadium Series obviously never had been to a major football game on a Saturday at Falcon Stadium. They obviously didn’t know about the 18-mile “Gap’’ traffic-snarling scheme. They obviously never checked potential February weather in Colorado. They obviously were lucky that the recent rash of snowstorms didn’t strike Saturday. They obviously didn’t care than 90 percent of Avalanche fans coming from the north likely had not been to the Air Force for an event.
Air Force commanders, including the superintendent, and the Avalanche didn’t explain this to the NHL.
All were wishing for another Miracle On Ice.
Tens of thousands paid hundreds of dollars for tickets, and they finally arrived late in the first period, at intermission and in the second period. From their seats in the first few rows, they couldn’t see the puck, the passes and even the goals unless they viewed the scoreboard screen.
The NHL and the Air Force issued a lame joint statement. These are excerpts I’ve chosen:
“Multiple efforts were made ... to warn attendees about potential traffic delays ... the vast majority of the fans ... had an amazing experience at the game ... Unfortunately, several factors the day of the game came together to cause even greater than expected traffic delays ... emergency pothole repairs and ... multiple vehicle accidents ... Despite our best efforts, all of these (issues) added to the already challenging traffic conditions along the I-25 corridor ... Unlike many large sports venues, all traffic into the two gates comes from one interstate ... there were numerous road condition changes and unforeseen events ... that forced further lane closures ... While we regret the unfortunate circumstances ... most were able to enjoy a fantastic evening.’’
The leadership must be very proud of the Titanic ice-breaking.
How about refunds and a sincere apology?