Even a heart attack couldn’t stop this Utah man from watching his beloved Avalanche hoist the Stanley Cup

Magna’s Dave Seward is a lifelong hockey superfan

(Briant Jenson) Magna's Dave Seward watches a Colorado Avalanche playoff game from his hospital bed at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. The super fan suffered a heart attack in early June 2022, but even that couldn't stop him from rooting his team during its Stanley Cup run.

Dave Seward watched from his hospital bed, his once-broken heart recently repaired.

The Magna resident and Albany, N.Y., native grew up loving hockey. He played for his high school team and rooted for the Albany River Rats, a now-defunct AHL franchise. He had a collection of NHL jerseys as a teenager. He memorized the names, positions, and backgrounds of his favorite players.

Utah does not have an NHL team, so when Seward settled in the Beehive State as an adult years ago, he took up fandom of the newly-crowned Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. The reason why makes sense.

“The Avalanche are the parent club of the (ECHL’s Utah) Grizzlies,” Seward’s father-in-law, Briant Jenson, told The Salt Lake Tribune via phone on Tuesday afternoon. “He wanted to stay loyal to the state.”

Seward’s love of the Avalanche brought him to Sunday evening when the franchise secured its third Cup since 1996 by defeating the two-time, defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

(Phelan M. Ebenhack | AP) Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon lifts the Stanley Cup after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Seward, though, basked in the win from room 102 of the ICU at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, where he wound up after suffering a heart attack two weeks ago.

So Seward put on an Avalanche baseball hat in his hospital bed and didn’t miss a game of his team’s run, save for Game 4 against the Lightning on June 22, which is when he underwent bypass surgery.

After the heart attack, Jenson had reached out to the Avalanche with Seward’s story. He got a response on the morning of Game 4 — the morning of the surgery — from a team official, who overnight shipped a jersey signed by the players in time for Game 5 on Friday night.

Seward couldn’t wear the jersey given all the tubes still present from surgery, but it was part of the decor in room 102 for Game 5, a 3-2 Lightning win to send the series back to Tampa Bay for Game 6.

Jenson says Seward faded in and out during his team’s defeat that night. But for Game 6, Seward requested he “not be all doped up on medication.” His doctors and nurses obliged, and while he was, as Jenson put it, “loosey-goosey” for the first two periods, Seward willed himself to be wide awake for the third period. Watching as the Avalanche closed in on the Cup did lead to a bit too much excitement at one point, which predictably led to some blood pressure medication being administered.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Seward was given the green light to leave the hospital on Wednesday, which means he will be able to watch the championship parade from home. There is a good chance Seward will watch the festivities on TV with Jenson because, after all, Jenson is also an Avalanche fan. Seward saw to it.

Dave Seward, left, and Briant Jenson outside Vivint Arena ahead of the LA Kings-Vegas Golden Knights preseason game last September.

About two years ago, Seward decided he needed to teach Jenson about professional hockey, so once a week, he would go over to Jenson’s house and watch a game, teaching him all of the nuances along the way.

Once Seward had Jenson converted, he gifted him an Avs jersey with the last name of Finnish alternate captain Mikko Rantanen. Jenson appreciated that gesture, having once lived in Finland.

“It’s been fun,” Jenson said. “Once the Avalanche were in the playoffs, we watched every game together, and wearing our jerseys was mandatory. As they kept winning, we got more and more excited.”

Seward, for what it’s worth, has an affinity for the team’s captain, former Calder Trophy winner Gabriel Landeskog. Whenever Seward hears Landeskog’s name, he tends to channel his inner Walt Whitman, echoing “O Captain! My Captain.”

Said Jenson: “I’m pretty sure he did that one time under medication at the hospital.”

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