Flames singe Oil­ers in ’Dome opener

Cal­gary fans show their de­vo­tion

Calgary Herald - - Front Page - SARAH MCGIN­NIS CAL­GARY­HER­ALD

Jereme Young looks long­ingly at the Flames fans hud­dled on the Sad­dle­dome steps three hours be­fore Satur­day’s home opener, a X-X win over the Edmonton Oil­ers.

With his crisp black tuxedo and snow white tie, he seems out of place.

But Young and his bride Faye Brown are de­voted — to each other, and their Flames. And their spe­cial day wouldn’t be com­plete with­out wed­ding pic­tures taken at the ’Dome.

“It was a sac­ri­fice not go­ing to the game tonight,” Young said as his new wife play­fully plowed him in the arm. “We couldn’t af­ford to bring ev­ery­one.”

The cou­ple met at the Sad­dle­dome five years ago. While they headed back to host a re­cep­tion with 150 guests, both bride and groom in­tended to lis­ten in on their team. Young couldn’t wait to an­nounce the Flames’ first goal – scored by for­ward Stephane Yelle — to his wed­ding guests.

Else­where around the ’Dome amid all the tail­gate, pre-game hype, jer­sey-clad and face­painted fans gath­ered for the Mol­son Cana­dian true-fan train­ing camp.

As a live band belted out Hit Me With Your Best Shot, four teams pre­pared for the fastest equip­ment change re­lay, each try­ing to see who could suit up fastest.

Jonathan Cairns put his game face on as he dropped his pants.

Shed­ding his jeans was part of his strat­egy, he said. Cairns hurled him­self into blue hockey shorts as his friends stuffed shin guards into white hockey socks and plopped a blue plas­tic hel­met on his head. But it wasn’t enough. Jared Malan­sky edged out Cairns, dress­ing in full gear in 36 sec­onds.

“I gave it 110 per cent, just like the Flames,” Malan­sky yelled.

Thanks to his ef­forts, two of friends got free tick­ets Satur­day’s game.

Mean­while, a few brave Oil­ers fa­nat­ics de­cided to in­vade Flames coun­try.

Ge­orge Waithe of Edmonton chuck­led as he was has­sled by two el­derly Cal­gary fans.

“I told him you’ve got a funny-look­ing shirt on,” said feisty 69-year-old Myret Ir­win, adding she’s been a Flames fan as long as the team’s ex­isted.

“I was go­ing to poke him,” added her friend Kay Dun­stan, 81.

Inside the sta­dium, the suds were flow­ing as peo­ple filled the hall­ways.

The cost of a hot dog is $4 this year, up 50 cents from last sea­son.

Na­chos go for $5.75 and beer is $6.75, both up a quar­ter from last year. While his to there had been fears of ex­ces­sive line­ups and closed con­ces­sion stands ear­lier this week, they weren’t ap­par­ent Satur­day.

Mo­ments be­fore goalie Mi­ikka Kipru­soff was her­alded for last sea­son’s saves, and the 2005-06 North­west Di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship ban­ner raised, fans were on their feet in an­tic­i­pa­tion.

A deaf­en­ing cheer erupted as the lights went off.

The packed house was black­ened ex­cept for a wave of blink­ing red lights com­ing from 15,000 square plas­tic Flames neck­laces.

Then, the boom­ing an­nouncer’s voice sliced through the arena. “This is Cal­gary,” he said. “This is the sea of red.”

Mark Gior­dano, from left, Andrew Fer­ence and Mar­cus Nil­son have the back­ing of Flames fans af­ter Nil­son’s goal late in the sec­ond pe­riod Satur­day night at the Sad­dle­dome in Cal­gary’s NHL home opener.

It’s true love for Flames fans Jereme Young and Faye Brown.

Regi­nald Tiangha and Michael Gil­son show their team spirit out­side of the Pen­growth Sad­dle­dome prior to the Cal­gary Flames’ home-opener Satur­day against the Edmonton Oil­ers.

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