Jared Bednar almost was in tears as he gave an emotional speech on stage at a rally at Civic Center Park in Denver following the Colorado Avalanche's Stanley Cup championship parade through downtown.

"I mean, this is a surreal moment for me," the Avalanche coach said. "I'm going to try not to get emotional, but I already am. We love you guys. Love you."

Bednar was introduced to the podium after the thousands in attendance heard from Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Colorado governor Jared Polis and Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic.

Sakic was the captain of the two previous Avalanche teams to win the Stanley Cup, in 1996 and 2001.

He built the team that won the Stanley Cup this year, going 16-4 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in the Stanley Cup Final, including 2-1 in Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Sunday.

"How about this team," Sakic said. "Twenty-one long [darn] years. It's been a long time. But we're back. We're back."