Beauchemin homers as Avs take BP at Coors

Beauchemin homers as Avs take BP at Coors

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche defenseman Francois Beauchemin could have gone either way -- baseball, where he was a left-handed pitcher and first baseman growing up in Montreal, or hockey. An NHL career that includes a Stanley Cup championship with the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07 shows his choice was correct.

But Beauchemin always wanted his baseball thrill, and Coors Field was as good a place as any to realize it. Beauchemin launched a couple of home runs to right field when he and several Avs teammates took batting practice before Saturday's game against the Brewers.

"That was my goal coming in here, to hit home runs," said Beauchemin, who chose hockey at age 13. "I would've been disappointed not to. I'm not going to lie.

"I've had some NHL moments, but this is pretty cool, to hit them out of Coors."

Beauchemin, who said he was talented in both sports and "maybe I would've had a shot" in baseball, was 14 when a labor stoppage ended the 1994 season -- the year many in Montreal believe the Expos could've won the World Series.

"They were so close to winning … I remember all that," Beachemin said. "It was a heartbreaker."

Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog and teammates Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie also participated in batting practice. It was a relaxation for the Avs, who are in the midst of their preseason schedule. The team is no stranger to Coors. They played on the diamond against the Detroit Red Wings last season in a Coors Light Stadium Series game.

Landeskog, who recently represented Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey (MacKinnon played for Team North America), wondered if his home country could have an impact in baseball if the game ever took hold there.

"You'd think there should be some more baseball there," Landeskog said. "Since I've been over here for the last five years, I've really started to enjoy all the sports that this side of the pond has to offer."

The Avs and Rockies traded autographs and stories on Saturday. They are similar teams -- talented and trying to put it all together.

"We're both young teams but getting better every year, and we always expect a little bit more every training camp," Beachemin said.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.