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Josh Kroenke – The Next Generation of Colorado Sports

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At just 36 years of age, Josh Kroenke has  garnered a reputation as a savvy businessman who understands what it takes to operate a fast-paced, highly successful sports franchise. With boundless enthusiasm he has learned on his feet what it takes to run a successful mix of four professional sports teams, juggle an incredible number of personalities, yet still maintain a humble, can-do outlook that enables him to keep it all together. Along the way, he has earned the respect of seasoned peers in a highly competitive industry.

    As the son of Stan Kroenke, one of America’s most-recognized leaders in the professional sports world, Josh Kroenke was introduced to the industry as a kid of about 13 or 14, when his father became involved with the Rams. “This was my first exposure to high-level athletics and the business behind them,” he says. “Ever since then I always had aspirations to be involved in professional sports.” What he could never have imagined though was the turn this would take, propelling his family into the global sporting spotlight. From his early days playing competitive basketball on a full scholarship at the University of Missouri to an internship with the NBA league office, Kroenke learned all about the business and today is well equipped in his role as President and Governor of both the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. In addition, he serves as an Alternate Governor for the Colorado Rapids (major league soccer) and serves on the Board of Directors for Arsenal Football Club in London.

      Recently we sat down with Kroenke to learn a bit more about what makes this man, who arguably is one of sport’s most up-and-coming leaders … such an energetic force at so young an age.

CHM: What do you like most about your role with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE?)

JK: I like meeting new people. Whether it’s a season ticket holder or an owner, a team president or a coach, a general manager or intern just starting a career, I have found a lot of enjoyment watching people grow personally and professionally to better themselves and their families. Each of them has taught me a lot over the years and hopefully I have taught them a few things as well.  

      Interacting with players across our teams is a lot of fun too because I get to meet a lot of people from very different walks of life. Gabriel Landeskog left home in Sweden as a teenager to pursue his NHL dream. Emmanuel Mudiay was born in a war-torn Congo and at age five fled with his two older brothers to meet their mother in Dallas to start a new life. These are exceptional young men and are examples of the perspective you gain when you have the privilege of being around them. They have learned and will continue to learn both as players and as people. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch our athletes represent themselves, their teams, and the City of Denver in a very positive way.

     Our company and teams are full of phenomenal people and competitors, all of whom I have the pleasure of getting to know in my role, and for that I am extremely grateful. 

CHM: What is your greatest accomplishment or what do you hope to accomplish in coming months?

JK: That’s a tough one since professionally I won’t feel we have accomplished anything of substance until our teams are consistently in “the conversation” of teams that can win a championship. That requires a lot of building, patience, and also a bit of luck to get there. There are little things we have accomplished and are currently doing that I feel will get us to where we aspire to be, but we can’t skip steps. We have won championships before in the NFL, NHL, and MLS and we won’t be satisfied until we are consistently at that championship level across the board.

CHM: Was being involved in the sports world an ambition of yours when you were growing up?

JK: I always had aspirations to be involved in professional sports. But if I said that I knew my family was going to wind up with the presence we now have in the global sporting community, I would be lying to you.  Soccer was my first love but basketball was the sport I chose to play competitively. Through the basketball experience that continued all the way through college at the University of Missouri and an internship with the NBA league office, I learned a lot about high-level athletics and everything it entailed.  So when I came into my role in 2010, I was about as prepared as I could have been.

CHM: Favorite spectator sport?

JK: My favorite sport to watch is golf. Skiing in the winter and playing golf in the summer have become my outlets to take my mind off of things when I’m stressed, and watching golf has become a very fun and relaxing thing for me. I guess with KSE being involved in so many different sports and paying such close attention at all times to different leagues, records, rankings, and standings, it’s nice just to be able to be a fan of something and enjoy the result no matter what happens. I have a favorite player or two and know a few guys on the PGA Tour, so it’s fun to just kick back and cheer for a couple different guys while admiring how dedicated they are to their craft. I wound up next to David Duval at our club driving range once and just listening to the sound his golf club makes during contact lets you know the pros are playing a completely different game than the rest of us amateurs!

CHM: What have you observed about Denver fans?

JK: Denver fans can be defined by one word … passion. Passion is a wonderful thing to have because without it, you simply have no one interested and a passive fan base is definitely not a strong fan base. Fans want to see our teams succeed, so for me, that passion can go both ways. When our teams are winning more games than they are losing, fans are much easier to interact with as they see the vision and can easily get behind a winning team. But when the teams are not as successful, let’s just say the interactions aren’t quite as much fun. I always joke with my family that when the teams are winning all of the focus will rightly be on the coaches, players, and management. But when the teams are losing, the focus and blame will come our way as people will expect changes to be made. It’s not the most fun of dynamics at times, but when we achieve success it’s a feeling that is hard to describe because you can feel the amazing city of Denver behind you everywhere you go.

CHM: What changes can we expect to see with regard to the upcoming season? How competitive do you feel the Nuggets and Avalanche will be this year?

JK: I think generally both teams will be young, very competitive, and should be competing for playoff spots. There are numerous highly talented young players throughout both rosters with a nice mix of veterans in each locker room to ensure strong cultures. Both coaches are very disciplined and very structured on a daily basis and are not afraid to hold each and every player accountable. However, with the accountability comes a personal touch that I think allows our players to understand we care about them as people as much as we do their contributions to our teams. I believe truly caring about them as human beings is incredibly important.

     On the Avalanche side, we have a first-year head coach in Jared Bednar and we’re incredibly excited to have him join our organization. He has been successful at every level he’s coached, and we feel he can have a very positive impact on the roster. We have a very talented group of young players we have been drafting over the past several years and they are each going to be expected to step into larger roles going forward to have success as a group. We signed both Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie to multi-year contract extensions and are planning to have a few veteran defensemen around to help with some of the newer, younger faces along our blue line. We are near the limit of the salary cap and have been drafting well over the past several years, but as I joked with a group of fans a few weeks ago, we can’t make Nathan (who just turned 21) turn 25 years old tomorrow. Matt Duchene has been a huge part of our organization for quite some time now and just posted his first 30-goal season last year at age 25. People forget we’re drafting these kids at 18 years old and sometimes patience and discipline are needed in order to achieve success.  

     While the Avalanche are young, it’s possible the Nuggets are even younger. Michael Malone is entering his second season as head coach and while one would say we didn’t have a successful record last season (33-49), we did it with an eye on the future, with several first- and second-year players. We are expecting some internal growth from the young players and are hopeful that through continuity and hard work, the young talent will continue to improve and raise our ceiling for success, both now and in the future. Danilo Gallinari is a veteran who had a fabulous season in 2015-16, and I look for him to continue to build upon his individual success. Wilson Chandler was out the entire last season due to a hip injury in the preseason, and we almost look at him as a free agent signing because he will contribute heavily this year. We felt we drafted well, and with our incoming rookies combining with a group of youngsters who made the NBA All Rookie team in 2015-16 (Nikola Jokic and Emmanuel Mudiay), we are excited about the possibilities heading into the future.

CHM: Which of your players do you think have the most impact on the community?

JK: One of the things we are most proud of is the impact all our players have on the community. Each player does things throughout the community on their own initiatives through team and league-sponsored events. A lot of them have their own personal stories that will bring awareness to specific organizations or illnesses. I believe every player feels pride that this is not just a place they play, but also where they live and the effect they have in sharing in the Colorado community.

     The Colorado Avalanche hockey club visits area hospitals annually and spends time with patients and their families during the holidays. Our Denver Nuggets organization puts on a clinic for Special Olympics Colorado, giving more than 100 Special Olympics athletes a day of fun in basketball each year. The Colorado Rapids and Colorado Mammoth teams create month-long events to help raise funds and support cancer patients. Our teams host numerous events and donate their time in appearances annually, making a positive impact in the city. One of our biggest events I am able to participate in alongside all four teams is the Mile High Dreams Gala. It highlights our players and coaches by providing a unique opportunity for the community to engage with each team directly while raising money for Kroenke Sports Charities. (Note: This year’s Mile High Dreams Gala will be held on November 14, 2016. For reservation information, please visit the community section of team website.)

CHM: What is fueling your enthusiasm right now?

JK: We are knee deep into the MLS season and I look forward to the playoff potential at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (DGSP). Soccer fans are some of the most passionate to watch and DSGP is a site to remember. The Colorado Rapids recently brought in Team USA goalkeeper Tim Howard this past offseason, and they have been at or near the top of the standings all season. We are incredibly excited about their playoff prospects. Tim has been a great addition to both the team and the community and we’re thrilled to have him join our club. 

CHM: Favorite thing about living in Colorado?

JK: Where do I start? Between the friendly people and the great weather I think I have everything I need! Having lived in Denver since 2007 it has been incredible to watch the city change in such a short period of time. The growth around town is exciting to say the least. From my office at Pepsi Center I can see several high-rise cranes at work throughout downtown, and it has been astonishing to watch the Cherry Creek area change. I have a few friends who are working on projects over in the RiNo district of downtown and I think that area is going to be tremendous going forward as well. However, don’t lose sight of why I’m really here, which is the mountains. My parents have a duplex in Steamboat Springs and they put me on skis when I was two. My older sister was getting to do something I wasn’t, so they put me on skis to stop me from crying and ever since, I have had a love for Colorado.

CHM: Talk about family and what is important to you? What did you learn from your father?

JK: I am a very family-oriented guy and along with my family I have a love for dogs. Most people who know me or see me around Pepsi Center and the city know I love to be with my two bulldogs, Fletcher and Arnie. They come to the office with me most days and travel with me often. They create a calm atmosphere during the heavy work hours, long seasons, and I can’t imagine my life without them. 

I think the main thing my father instilled in me at a young age was hard work. And not only just hard work, but when you fail, work harder. Whether it’s something business-related or in your personal life, there is no substitute for going out and working hard. I try to apply this in all aspects of my life and you need to understand that failure will happen at times, but by continuing to work hard through difficult times you will better prepare yourself for when a similar situation arises in the future and hopefully you’ll achieve success.  

CHM: If you could be doing any other job, what would it be?

JK: I think I’d be a fishing guide on a river somewhere or a ski instructor. I would enjoy the daily outdoor aspect of the jobs and I would also enjoy meeting new people and teaching them a skill they didn’t already have. Fishing or skiing on a daily basis sounds like a lot of fun.

CHM: Favorite Denver restaurant?

JK: My Brother’s Bar. My dad first took me there when I moved to Denver in 2007 and I immediately fell in love with the place. I enjoy restaurants and bars that have a lot of character, and I would say that My Brother’s Bar has as much character as any place I’ve been to in Denver. My usual order is a Double Ralphie (Bison Burger) with cheese and a side of fries/onion rings combo basket. They also have unbelievable chili that will tempt me when I’m feeling exceptionally hungry. It’s close to Pepsi Center, so it makes it an easy lunch spot and I love to drag anyone and everyone there with me. The Cherry Cricket is also a personal favorite. They both have options for people of all tastes and diets. I enjoy a good burger every now and then!

CHM: Favorite vacation spot?

JK: This is a tough one but I’d have to say Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I love the mountains and Jackson is rugged and just far enough away from Denver where I feel like I’m escaping somewhere more remote. As Coloradans know, the mountains are a special place and the Teton Range is one that I find to be incredibly inspiring.  I really enjoy sneaking up there a few times during the winter as the people are wonderful and the skiing is truly world class … steep and deep!

Cherry Creek – A Shopper’s Paradise

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The upscale Cherry Creek neighborhood is truly a playground for adults. Adults that is, who love to shop, enjoy fine dining and appreciate the nicer things in life.

     Comprised of two distinct areas, travelers and locals gravitate freely between the recently renovated, and always fabulous Cherry Creek Shopping Center and eclectic, chic Cherry Creek North. You have to see it to understand it, but rest assured this is one destination you won’t want to miss when you’re in town. Yes, Cherry Creek truly offers it all, including beautiful stores such as Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Burberry, and elegant dining at well-known restaurants such as Matsuhisa and Sol Cocina. And best of all, the area is entirely walkable, with plenty of trees offering a respite on warmer summer days and protection from the softly falling snow in colder months.


Right in the heart of Denver, the Cherry Creek Shopping Center is a haven for prettymuch anyone wanting a great outfit, stunning piece of jewelry or show-logo-share

stopping accessory. It’s here you’ll find some of the best stores around, including high-end retailers such as Tiffany & Co., Stuart Weitzman, Burberry and David Yurman. Homegrown jewelers with a national presence include the fabulous Hyde Park Jewelers and John Atencio, and Kate Hudson recently selected the shopping center to showcase her line of athletic wear in her Fabletics store. There’s something for everyone, and when your feet grow tired of trekking through all the upscale stores, there are restaurant and cocktail options aplenty, in establishments such as Elway’s Steakhouse, the newly opened 801 Chophouse, or the beautifully revamped Kona Grill.

With a slew of recently opened stores,  and more on the way, it’s always new, relevant and rewarding at the mall. We spoke with Dave Dixon, Cherry Creek Shopping Center’s marketing guru, who filled us in on some of the more fun details of what’s happening at the shopping mecca.

It’s All In The Reward

Get a head start on your shopping trip by signing up online or at kiosks located in the center for a rewards program that will truly pay you back. Customers receive a password and can attach up to 15 credit cards to their account. Now you’re connected to more than 160 stores in the center, and any time you make a purchase using your card, it will be stored in the system. Once you spend $250 aggregate on your card you’ll earn a $20 reward that goes back on your card.

And Then There’s The Stores

New this calendar year are a host of new stores and restaurants, including Hannah Andersen (for well-dressed kids); Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza (for hungry foodies); Ivivva (for active juniors); 801 Chophouse (for prime steak lovers); and Fabletics (for stylish workout enthusiasts). Six more stores are slated to open by the holidays, bringing a grand total of 11 new establishments to an already unique and high-end mix. Of course, what’s old is new, and you won’t want to miss some of the beautiful renovations, including RH, Lush Cosmetics, Free People and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Take a break and stop by LivSotheby’s International Realty in the main court, for a preview of some of Colorado’s most beautiful homes for sale.

Red Carpet Treatment

Visitors to Colorado are always greeted with open arms at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, and special amenities are readily available to those coming from far and away. Out-of-town guests are invited to stop by the Guest Services desk, where they will find a currency exchange, complimentary wheelchairs and strollers, mall information, gift cards and gift boxes, and, of course, a complimentary copy of Denver and Colorado Hotel Magazine! Make sure to let them know you’re visiting from out of town, and receive a Passport to Shopping Book, with discounts to more than 60 participating shops and available only to travelers. 

     “There have been so many changes at the center and it’s all exciting,” says Dixon. The transformation and upgrades kicked into high gear last October when RH opened in a  dramatically renovated 50,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue. An additional new 38,000 square feet of space was quickly filled by boutiques such as Tory Burch, David Yurman, Free People, Knight Rider Jewelry, Tiffany & Co. and 801 Chophouse. The buildout was state-of-the-art, eye-catching and wonderful.

       “Twenty-five percent of all the stores here are unique to the Colorado market,” points out Dixon. “We have stores such as Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Roberto Coin, Breitling, Omega – all luxe brands, and all in this location only.” Other great merchants such as Kiehls, Swatch, Scotch & Soda and Diesel Jeans also have chosen the exclusive Cherry Creek Shopping Center address to showcase their wares to shoppers in Colorado.

     “We are centrally located in the heart of Denver, and we try to keep things fresh, exciting and easy for tourists, who are a large part of our customer base,” says Dixon. The center takes the experience a step further by offering a great new app that enables users to “map it, plan it and then love it,” he continues. Using the app, shoppers can navigate the best route to stores they want to visit in succession. And truth to tell, we’re loving this shopping-made-easy concept!

Deck the Malls

The holidays are always fun at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, and as Dixon points out, “we take them very seriously. This is an opportunity for us to create a great family and social experience, so that when visitors come here they just feel festive,” he says. From elaborate holiday décor to carolers and fun events, the holiday experience culminates in the Grand Court, where Santa reigns supreme and children line up to make his acquaintance. This year, the mall is introducing an entirely new experience, which promises to surprise and delight the young and the old.

      Adding to the fun is the year-round Dinosaur Gulch, a popular children’s play area sponsored by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. But take heed, you must be under 48 inches to play!

     With more than 16 million people visiting the Cherry Creek Shopping Center every year, the mall consistently ranks among the top tourist attractions in the Mile High City. “We just turned 26 years old, but the architecture and feel are fresh and new,” says Dixon. “There is a timeless architecture, and things are always being improved and reinvented. Whether it’s the recently remodeled common area, complete with USB charging outlets, new seating, free Wi-Fi and tech tables, shoppers are able to connect and recharge on the go, which is a necessity in our mobile world.”

Cherry Creek North3922-p22

For some time now, cranes and work crews have been a staple of Cherry Creek North, the vibrant mixed-use destination comprised of hotels, restaurants and shops. Change is always in the air here, and the recent influx of gorgeous new hotels, fantastic restaurants and wonderful boutiques ensures this area remains the place to be when in Colorado. According to Jenny Starkey, marketing director for Cherry Creek North, the area has seen a 300-percent increase in hotel rooms, and what was once a vision of the future is now actively being rolled out throughout the streets.

     An aggressive public/private growth plan was strategically implemented and represents what Starkey deems a strong and bold development that brings innovative change to the community. “This is all so fun to see, and the development here has set the stage for everything now taking place. The investment in Cherry Creek North has been remarkable, and this truly is a city that is made for people to visit, to live, to work and to stay.” The walk score in Cherry Creek is 95 out of 100, meaning Cherry Creek North is the No. 1 most walkable neighborhood in the city.

Get Your Walk On

“The walkability of Cherry Creek North is truly one of the biggest draws, because it encourages people to linger,” points out Starkey. There’s fantastic ground floor retail, a slew of happy hour venues, and almost 650 trees that provide a beautiful shade canopy under which to meander, have fun and spend a day. The 16-block area houses nearly 600 businesses; 261 of those are retailers. An impressive 70 percent of the retailers are local, just one more aspect that differentiates Cherry Creek North from any other shopping area in the city, Starkey explains.

     The changes in the area have been astounding, with the addition of 186,000 square feet of retail space in 2015, signaling a 25 percent increase since 2010. The growth ushered in a host of new upscale boutiques; stores that are unique to the area and are one-of-a-kind in the metro area. This year alone has seen 26 new store openings, with even more on the horizon. In addition, the very cool new Halcyon Hotel, a unique boutique property right in the heart of the area, and the pending addition of a Marriott International Moxy Hotel, will mean an additional 325 rooms right in the area.

Retail Therapy

While some stores are new to the Cherry Creek North area, others have had the good fortune of expanding into larger, more expansive spaces due to overwhelming response from clientele who love the area and the unique mix of stores. Take for example Ten Thousand Villages, a store that helped pioneer the Fair Trade Movement and today has more than 390 stores throughout the country, selling gifts, jewelry, home décor, art, clothing and accessories. All merchandise is deemed “ethical gifts,” and the global mission is to improve lives and change business practices worldwide. The store recently relocated into a larger space, which, according to store manager Hayley Morris, is part and parcel of what makes this part of Denver so special. “We are truly honored to be a part of the Cherry Creek North community – it is so rich in history and has so many incredible, small, local businesses,” she says.

     In fact, the area has seen a number of stores either moving to larger spaces, relocating from another area or adding to their inventory of locations. From Kate Spade to Hermes to Peter Millar, it’s all here and fashion-forward is the word of the day. Stitch Boutique in the Highlands area, a trendy women’s clothing store, recently opened a second location here, along with A Line in southeast Denver, Perch of Vail and Kaitlyn Collective, which previously was an online retailer. Hollyhocks, an absolutely charming, high-end children’s boutique, recently opened up in the area, much to the delight of loyal followers who were fans of the old location just outside the district.

     “There are a lot of retail people watching what is going on here,” Starkey says. “Now add to that the new hotels and restaurants that are opening, and you see that this area truly offers it all. Cherry Creek North truly is the epitome of where you bring the retail, because of the walkability, the proximity of hotels, residents and employees who are all right here.”

     In recent months, the area has come under fire for what is a perceived parking challenge. Starkey, however, debunks this fear, pointing out that “parking is always something every shopping district everywhere talks about, and when it comes to Cherry Creek North there’s plenty to go around. If you don’t know where to park, just go on the website ( and click on the Get Here option under the Visiting Us tab. Here you’ll see 13 public parking garages, 3-hour on-street parking and many parking options. So plenty is available,” she adds.

     When it comes to dining, great cuisine abounds in the area, with several high-end venues and more casual fare serving up residents, employees and travelers in the vicinity. There are lots of great patios and fun happy hours to while away the time. Local and tourists alike are raving about some of the great new restaurants, including Departures in the Halcyon, Matsuhisa, Sol Cocina and the Thirsty Lion. Something for everyone, and everyone is loving the culinary offerings.

     Yes, the once low-key area known as Cherry Creek is now all grown up, and more exciting than ever before. It’s all about food, fashion and fun in this little slice of paradise.

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