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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Fan Report from Calgary

Jon and a few other fans are travelling with the team over the weekend and Jon is going to check in with some personal reports on his trip. I edited a few things for Jon but the thoughts are all him...


I drove up to Abbotsford Wednesday night.
Boy, were there some very strong winds in the Mount Vernon / Bellingham area.

You have to love the border at Sumas. It is usually so easy.
This time, the agent asks where we are going, and says to have a nice stay. Didn’t ask to see our I.D.’s or anything.

Got up around 7am Thursday morning, and caught a cab over to the Abbotsford airport,
I had a 9:10 flight to Calgary. Why fly out of Abbotsford you may ask? Without a passport, it is very easy to fly inside Canada. One other strange thing about flying in Canada, you don’t have to remove your shoes at the security area.

The flight was very easy and smooth except for the decent into Calgary. Those winds blowing off the mountains always make for a bumpy ride. I really wish I had packed my camera in my laptop case instead of in my suitcase in the overhead bin. We circled around Calgary twice on the way to the airport, and I could have gotten some great images of downtown from the air.

Allen, Chris, and Josh were nice enough to pick me up from the airport. First order of business was to find a place for breakfast. After driving around all over the place, we ended up at the Stampede Casino next to the Saddledome. Very bland and expensive food. Allen had the best food… a plain hamburger.

We then watched someone with far too much money lose most of it playing roulette. Josh played some video poker and doubled his huge initial investment of $5. They finally convinced me to try and gamble. Normally, I never gamble, too much risk and I have terrible luck. This time, my luck changed. I started with $5, and five minutes later when I decided to cash out, I had $5.75. That $.75 cents went to pay for my portion of the parking.

We walked around outside, and man was it windy. The flags were blowing everywhere.

We decided to go shoot some pool at a place downtown. The only thing we managed to do was find another activity I am no good at. At least the beer was good and cold. We got to watch the Bruins / Maple Leafs game on the TV. We got excited every time (Jeremy) Reich or (Milan) Lucic appeared on the screen. Lucic had a great fight.

Following six games of pool where I ended up going 1-5, we left for the evening’s hockey game. We decided long ago to watch the Calgary Royals host the Olds Grizzlies. This is Alberta Junior Hockey. And, if we remember correctly, the Royals are where Hickey played (edit: that is correct). The game turned out to be a blowout and Calgary won 7-2. Some good scoring, good hitting, and good fighting. No WHL names that we recognized. At times though, both teams to have taking notes from the Thunderbirds, forgetting breakout plays, making poor passes, and doing nothing on the power play.

After the game, at the recommendation of GM Farwell, we headed back downtown to the new Flames restaurant/bar/club. This turns out to be an old theater, converted into a very impressive audio / video location. However, on this night, it was rented out by some bar association for a private function. We did get to go in and look around, and it was very cool. The jeans and sweatshirt I had on made me very under dressed. The have installed a movie theater sized screen where the theater stage used to be, and show NHL games on it. Very nice image quality.

So, a couple of Hitmen fans were nice enough to join us, and take us to a different restaurant. This one turned out to be located right back next to the place we watched the hockey game at. One long round trip in the car. This place had the best chicken wings I have ever had. And no, it was not the Long Island Ice Tea talking.

Now, we are back at the house of a Hitmen fan that is nice enough to let us sleep at his house. It is time to catch some sleep, as we are planning to leave for Medicine Hat around 10am tomorrow (ok, really today).

Travel and game recap from Medicine up next.


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