Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An Island Of Blue In A Sea Of Red

"The puck goes in, the home team wins, in the good old hockey game". So sings Stompin' Tom Connors in "The Hockey Song", which has been played to death in just about every arena. And once in a while, just like in the song, the hometown team gets a happy ending! Down 2-1 in the third, Jarome Iginla rockets a slapshot that pinballs off two defensemen past the surprised Minnesota goalie. Then with under a minute to play, Kristian Huselius slips one past Backstrom and the Flames win 3-2 in front of a sellout crowd in the Pengrowth Saddledome.

The building had been quiet up to that point, as the Minnesota Wild seems to lull both the crowd and their opposition to sleep, but the Saddledome erupted with excitement as the horn sounded. I love seeing the hometown crowd walk out happy. I wasn't sure how the fans would react to seeing an interloper wearing a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey. For the non-hockey readers, Calgary and Tampa met in the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, which Tampa won. However, Flames fans are still howling about a disallowed goal in game six that might have given them the victory. As I walked around the narrow concourse, half-expecting to have beer dumped on me by unforgiving fans, I was amazed by the reaction I received. No one yelled insults and lots of people stopped me to chat about the series. By the way Flames fans, I may have conveniently forgotten to tell you this last night, but it was NO GOAL!

Everyone in the Saddledome wore Flames red except me. I felt like John Kerry on the campaign trail in Texas - an island of blue in a sea of red! I wonder what would happen if the NHL switches back to having the home team wear white. Would everyone have to buy a new wardrobe? Before the game, Richard, my host in Calgary (and a great guy) took me to Flames Central. Its an old movie theater in downtown Calgary that the Flames bought and converted into a bar/restaurant. Great concept, and I wish I could show you the pictures I took, but I can't. Why, you may ask?

After the Sharks game on Monday, I drove to a hotel by the San Francisco airport, updated the site, set my alarm and fell fast asleep. By alarm goes off at 6 am and I hit the snooze button (or so I thought). Next thing I know, the clock says 7.09 and have to be at the airport at 7.55! I have no idea what button I hit, but it wasn't the snooze. I jumped out of bed, hurridly threw my stuff into my bag, stopping only to brush my teeth, and dashed to the rental car, still wearing the t-shirt I slept in. Luckily, I made it just in time, but in the rush, I left my computer power cord on the desk. So I'm typing this on the iPhone. So no cut and paste, no pictures, and no spellcheck for the next couple of days. I'll be reconnecting with my power cord in St. Louis on Friday, thanks to the desk clerk who is mailing it there.

Off to Vancouver next for Game 20 of 30.

9 comments:

Keith said...

If you think everyone was wearing red last night, come back for a playoff game. ;) I'm glad we finished strong, because I wasn't expecting a lot of noise given the circumstances.

I'll have to say I disagree with you on Gelinas' goal in game six though... but c'est la vie. I was in Tampa for game 7 in 04, and have to say that I was treated very, very well by the local fans. Glad that we were just as courteous to you.

Hope you didn't enjoy too many of the heroin beers last night....

Josh said...

I was thinking... the 30 nights are almost over and i'm going to miss reading the blog. So maybe, you could visit a football stadium every sunday till the superbowl. When baseball start up you could vvisit every park. and basketball... who cares about the NBA. MAybe you could visit a college games?

Josh said...

thats pretty sweet doing that all from a phone! how long did it take to type out?

Westcoaster said...

Another Stormy day in Vancouver be prepared!!!! and enjoy the game....gonna be a good one between two western Canadian teams who don't like each other....

Flames Ronin said...

Yeah, it really was no goal and I hope Flames fans get over that quick, I was at that game and I couldn't believe it wasn't in but even seeing the 1st replay I knew Gelinas didn't score that goal.

Congrats to Tampa, as you said it could've gone either way. Glad you enjoyed your stay here.

Good luck the rest of your trip!

Anonymous said...

like waht keith said come back for a playoff game..you'll definatly be noticed if ur not wearing red...
http://cdn.nhl.com/flames/images/upload/2007/06/pan-team.jpg

hockeymom2twins said...

"Good on ya"!

I have only been to 3 arenas - Edmonton, Dallas (the old one) and Calgary where I live now. I lived in Edmonton during the dynasty years and went to lots of games where we had no real appreciation of the guys we were watching: Gretzky (well, we appreciated him), Messier, Coffey, Anderson, Kurri, Fuhr, Moog, etc, etc.

In Dallas, I had to explain a lot of the game to my hosts (hat trick, offside, etc) but they had gone to a lot of trouble to get tickets to this PLAYOFF game!! Awesome folks - knowing I was Canadian and going to be in town for an Oilers-Stars first round game, they called in some serious favours to take me. And I was the island of, er, copper? navy? Not green, anyway, and by the end of the evening (Dallas won) I had been invited to at least a half dozen barbeques.

These days I'm a hardcore Flames fan and I hope you had a great time at Flames Central and at the game (boy, did we need that win).

I caught your spot on CBC and I think your quest is awesome - you are going to be pretty beat up at the end of this but I hope you will find it to be a hugely gratifying experience.

I was a hockey mom for about 19 years and pretty much did 30 games in 30 days year over year. Complained about it some at the time but nowadays, I miss it......and by the way, THAT'S hockey!!

Michael said...

Wow!

I can't believe that you have made it this far without a major airline schedule problem... That's amazing.

Anonymous said...

It was a goal!