Flames singe Oilers in ’Dome opener
Calgary fans show their devotion
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.”