Heritage Weekend: Alumni Game Preview/ Open Thread

After what feels like a lifetime, the Heritage Classic is finally upon us, beginning with the Alumni Game at McMahon Stadium this afternoon (4:30 PM MST). The game will feature members of the 1986 and 1989 Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens teams that competed for the Stanley Cup during a period of intense rivalry between the two organizations, as each would away with a Championship to their names before the decade's end. 

The Story

The first decade of the Flames' existence in Calgary is fondly looked back upon as the best in the team's history; the team made the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons after arriving relocating to Calgary in 1980, making the Stanley Cup Final twice and creating some memorable moments along the way. 

Unfortunately for younger Flames fans, the team has only been back to the Finals once since the 1989 team captured the organization's first and only Cup, and have not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2004. This weekend affords us an opportunity to revisit the team's early successes in the run-and-gun era of the 80s along with the players and memories that accompanied it. 

Habs fans don't have to dig quite so far back in their team's history to find its most recent Championship, as the Canadiens still stand as the last team from the Great White North to win Lord Stanley's mug in 1993, despite the best efforts of the Flames, Oilers, and Senators. Last season's surprise playoff run nearly lead Montreal back to the promise land before the Philadelphia Flyers disposed of them. Despite their most recent successes, the 1980s and early 90s was arguably the last time Montreal experienced sustained success, and this game provides fans with the same opportunity to relive that. It should be a great time for both sides. 

The Alumni Game hasn't been without its controversies, however, as questions have been raised over the lack of jersey retirements by the Flames for players like Joe Nieuwendyk, Al MacInnis, and Theoren Fleury. No plans for any retirement ceremonies exist in the near future according to team spokesperson Peter Hanlon, but that could potentially change after this weekend. 

 

The Rosters

 

Calgary Flames                            Montreal Canadiens
#2 Al MacInnis #41 Brent Gilchrist
#11 Colin Patterson #5 Rick Green
#5 Dana Murzyn #43 Benoit Brunet
#10 Gary Roberts #36 Sergio Momesso
#34 Jamie Macoun "A" #12 Mike Keane "C"
#24 Jim Peplinksi "C" #17 Craig Lee Ludwig
#17 Jiri Hrdina #14 Kevin Haller
#25 Joe Nieuwendyk "C" #6 Russ Courtnall
#29 Joel Otto "A" #38 Mike Lalor
#9 Lanny MacDonald "C" #39 Brian Skrudland "C"
#30 Mike Vernon #11 Kirk Muller
#21 Perry Berezan #41 Eric Fichaud
#6 Rick Natress #59 Craig Levie
#14 Theo Fleury #23 Martin Gelinas
#27 Brian MacLennan #1 Warren Skorodenski (Reserve)
#22 Craig Conroy #6 Terry Johnson (Reserve)
#22 Brad Marsh Bob Gainey (Coach)
#27 Eric Vail Ryan Walter (Coach)
#6 Ken Houston Rejean Houle (Coach)
#7 Randy Holt
#20 Rob Murdoch
Cliff Fletcher (GM)
Al MacNeil (Coach)
Tom Watt (Coach)
Terry Crisp (Coach)
Doug Risebrough (Coach)
Jim "Bearcat" Murray (Trainer)

 

Officials

Rob Shick 

Mike McGeough 

Lyle Seitz 

Luke McGeough 

 

I'll be heading down to McMahon shortly to take in Flames practice and as much of the Alumni Game as possible, so stay tuned for updates and make sure to stay warm and enjoy the game if you make it out! Go Flames.  

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