By Raetta Holdman

(CBS4) – For the first time in league history, a hockey team is valued at $2 billion and no, it’s not the Colorado Avalanche, not even close.

The New York Rangers take the top spot on Forbes list of NHL team values. It’s spot they’ve occupied for seven years in a row but a 21% increase pushes the Rangers above that $2 billion mark.

Patrik Nemeth of the Colorado Avalanche pushes the puck ahead of Filip Chytil of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 16, 2018 in New York City. (file photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Like so many things, the teams took a hit from the pandemic and with the shortened season played in empty stadiums for the 2020-2021 season, the average dropped to $653 million or down about 2%.

Now it’s December 2021 in the middle of a new season and hockey has heated up. Forbes put the new average at $865 million, a whopping 32% increase from last year. Forbes said that’s the biggest jump since a 50% gain when the league signed a massive Canadian television deal in 2013.

Members of the Colorado Avalanche salute the fans after the 9-3 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on March 31, 2021 in Denver.

Members of the Colorado Avalanche salute the fans who returned to Ball Arena for in-person games after the 9-3 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on March 31, 2021 in Denver. (credit: Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

As for the Avalanche, they actually rank in the bottom 10 when it comes to team values, coming in at No. 22 with a value of $630 million, well below that team average. It’s worth noting the top eight teams are valued between $1.025 billion and $2 billion.

The Arizona Coyotes, valued at $400 million, are at the bottom of the list. Forbes said part of the reason for that is because the team does not have an arena to play in next season and the franchise has struggled since they left Winnipeg in 1996.

As for the NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken are number 13 on the list, valued at $875 million, even with paying that $650 million expansion fee.

Raetta Holdman