DENVER — Thousands of fans will fill Ball Arena when the Avalanche return to Denver for Game 5 on Friday. One fan will be with them in spirit.
Ryan Clark lost his best friend Kyle Stark unexpectedly in December of 2021. The two were best friends for over a decade and loved attending the Avs games together at Ball Arena. The two were so close, Stark was the best man at Clark's wedding.
After Stark's funeral, his parents invited Clark to an Avs game at Ball Arena. He decided to honor his friend in the best way he could.
He asked Stark's parents if they could bring some of his ashes to the game. Before it started, Clark went up to the glass and spread some of the ashes over the ice.
"We had him in a little baggie. We got Kyle over the glass and into the ice. An usher had come up to me and was like, 'Hey dude, what was that?' and I said, 'Well, to be honest with you, that was my best friend Kyle. He died'," Clark said.
Not long after, Clark received a letter saying he had been banned from Avalanche events at Ball Arena for the rest of the season.
Clark said he has no regrets.
"I'd do it all over again with the biggest smile on my face like I did the last time. I know in my heart that's where he wanted to be," he said. "When asked constantly, 'where do you think he is?' Well, that Zamboni got him all over the ice. Realistically, again, not the brightest idea, but in my heart the best way I could give tribute to my friend for what he truly loved more than anything in the world."
Clark was not banned from all events at Ball Arena, only the Avalanche events for the rest of the season. He has been cheering his team on from home during the playoffs.
"I just love him very much. I miss him very much," Clark said. "I wish we were doing a different kind of interview. I wish we were those fans that were coming out of the arena."