If there’s one team I wouldn’t mind seeing come out of the western division in these Stanley Cup playoffs, it would have to be Calgary. Of course, Montreal would take them out quickly and effectively in the finals, but that’s not why I want Calgary.
It’s because they were nice to me and a Russian couple a long time ago.
In 1992, after raising a bunch of money by selling Russian pins, I brought a Russian hockey fan and his wife to Calgary for a visit. And the visit had a real purpose. This fellow had been dreaming of seeing an NHL hockey game live for many years. And I wanted to make this happen.
Before the Russian couple came, I contacted the Flames office and explained the story, about how this huge hockey fan wanted to go to a game. At this time, tickets to Flames game were nearly impossible to get ahold of, and I really didn’t want us to end up in the nosebleeds of the Saddledome, which is about three quarters the way to the moon.
For some reason, the Flames understood completely, and here’s what they did. They gave us four lower bowl tickets for a Washington-Calgary game, four lower bowl tickets to a Buffalo-Calgary game, an invitation to a closed Flames practice, a chance to say hello to all the players, and a photo with Theoren Fleury after he came off the ice. Even General Manager Doug Risebrough, a good ex-Hab to be sure, came to where we were sitting to say hello.
And on top of that, they also threw in an autographed stick for this very surprised, and blown away, Russian guy.
The Flames treated this couple so well, and I always appreciated it, even though I’ve never cheered for them.
So I hope they surprise San Jose and keep it going, and in the end, lose in the finals to Montreal.