The rafters of Pepsi Center in Denver display the names and numbers of numerous legendary athletes and coaches, from the iconic #33 and #19 of Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche to Doug Moe’s 432 wins banner of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.
Today, a total of 13 retired names and numbers sway high among various division and championship banners for hockey, basketball and lacrosse. Gavin Prout is the latest as his number 9 jersey now rests between former Colorado Mammoth teammates Brian Langtry and Gary Gait. The team honored its former captain and all-time franchise leader in assists (459) and points (664) with a memorable pregame ceremony this past Sunday (WATCH).
“It’s like I’m dreaming, yet it’s not, it’s reality,” said Prout after the ceremony. “It’s a dream come true for me that was never, ever my goal. It’s like the icing on the cake that is indescribable. Gary- I idolized growing up, and to even be consider in the same realm and right beside those guys in the rafters is truly an honor.”
Prout spent nine seasons wearing the burgundy and black for Colorado from 2003-09 and 2011-13. After leaving New York in 2002, Gavin could have gone anywhere in the National Lacrosse League. Choosing the Mile High City, he says, was one of the best life decisions he has made to date.
And the fans rewarded that choice for nearly a decade, cheering loud and proud for their friend on the floor.
“Definitely, definitely, and it wasn’t just for the team aspect or the organization,” he said. “There’s so many friends here that I’ve made, and everybody here treats you like family. They really do care about you as a person, not just as an athlete, but shows the amount of passion they have in the stands. And you see how much support they give the team game in and game out. That’s something special.”
He was given the captain’s ‘C’ for the Mammoth prior to the 2006 season, where Prout’s career season-high 93 points were instrumental in guiding Colorado to their first Champion’s Cup title. Nine years later, his number forever aligns with that championship banner high above the Colorado bench.
“The best word I can describe it is ‘emotional,'” Prout said. “It’s a chapter that’s ended in my career. There’s plenty of more chapters, but having to say goodbye to this great sport and Colorado, it was definitely one of the toughest things I’ve had to do in quite some time.”
While he isn’t sure just yet where that next chapter will guide him, he now joins his ‘Loud House’ friends cheering on his burgundy brothers.
By Nick Salen (@MammothBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Michael Martin.