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Kings @ Flames: A view from inside the Dome

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Last night was awesome.

I love this team.
I love this team.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

As soon as I opened a new article, this song got stuck in my head. I suggest you play and read to understand how it felt to be at the Dome last night. The night the Calgary Flames clinched a playoff spot, and took the reigning Stanley Cup Champions down in the process.

Since I woke up yesterday, the game was at the forefront of my thoughts. When I got to work, I had my radio turned on to Sportsnet 960 The Fan. Everybody I talked to mentioned something about it.

All of this build up made me nervous for the game. What if the Flames lost? How would that feel? I was already unprepared for my emotions if they won.

It was a lot to take in.

As soon as I got to the Dome, I could feel it. This game was different than any game I’ve been to before. There were more people, more fans. The usual crowd of quiet oil and gas executives had transformed into a true C of Red.

Some of us stood up to welcome the Flames onto the ice. Before the Canadian national anthem, the crowd started chanting, "Go Flames Go!" I knew I was going to get what I expected (and yearned for) from this crowd and the game.

The chanting was unlike I’d ever heard it. "Go Flames Go!" "Let’s go Flames, let’s go!"

Then, Johnny Gaudreau seemed to score a goal. The crowd went WILD, until we realized the goal light didn’t go off. Was it a goal? Our side of the stadium was going off of the reaction from the other side.

The replay came, and it was a good goal. We could all see it, we just hoped the video reviewers would. (Spoiler: they did.) That’s when the crowd really got into it. With Gaudreau’s next zone entry (or as my Dad called it, his ‘dipsy doodle’) and shot, there came a crowd of 20,000 people screaming "Johnny! Johnny! Johnny!"

I should mention, they kept cutting to him on the jumbotron - during the goal review, after his 'dipsy doodle' and his shots, and he had a smile on his face the whole time.

It was quite a first period. And even though the Flames may have fallen off a little in the rest of the game, the fans didn’t. Aside from the comment from the little boy behind me, "This is the last period, not target practice!" HA.

With the three goals scored tonight, the crowd became something special. Strangers were high-fiving eachother, hugging eachother. I even got the reaction from Jiri Hudler’s empty net on video (turn the volume down if you've got headphones in - I scream):

Everyone got into the 50/50 too. Whoever the lucky winner was is going to go home with $82,812.50. Cha-ching!

Coming out of the Dome, people were holding doors for the mass exodus, and they had their hands up, ready to high-five each and every person that walked through. Even the cop directing traffic and pedestrians got into it, giving us all high-fives as we walked by.

The buzz of the City was electric.

Even the Calgary Tower got all dressed up.

The last real memories I have of playoff hockey are from the 2004 Cup run. I remember the Red Mile – watching the game on the sidewalk from the Melrose patio, hiding out from the throngs of drunk people in the Baskin Robbins. I also remember going to the middle of the street at night with friends and getting cars to honk for the Flames.

I didn’t go to a playoff game that year. This is the closest I’ve ever come to one.

And in all my years of being a Flames fan and not giving up on my team (I went to Vancouver for University – those were dark times), tonight, and this season, made it all worth it.

Needless to say (and you’ll have heard it in the video), my voice did not survive.


On to... PLAYOFFS BABY!

Want to experience the final celebration from my phone? I know, I know, I've got videotaping skillz.