Editor's note: Please say hello to our newest writer at M&G, Jason, as he gives us a retrospective on his first Flames hockey game. Welcome, Jason!
I remember it like it was yesterday. We were visiting my Grandma's house in Calgary for Christmas. The whole family was there, although back then it was nowhere near the size it is now. On Christmas morning I opened up a pair of tickets to the see the Calgary Flames host the Philadelphia Flyers. I was the only kid who got tickets because I was the only Flames fan...or hockey fan for that matter.
It was December 31st, 1987. I remember walking into the Saddledome and thinking it was huge. There were so many people. The biggest hockey game I had been to before that was watching the Regina Pats at the Agridome so this was like seeing the Grand Canyon after you've been to Drumheller.
The atmosphere was electric and the roster featured pretty much the players from the Cup winning team of '89, plus Brett Hull. The roster also featured a fairly new goaltender named Mike Vernon. Vernon stopped 31 of 35 shots on route to a 5-4 win. The flames beat the Flyers all three games that season.
I also remember that Mark Laforest started in goal for the Flyers because I was excited to get to see Ron Hextall play and was disappointed when he didn't.
Defenseman Gary Suter led the way with 2 goals and 1 assist while Centre Joe Niewendyk potted 1 goal and assisted on 2.
The Flames finished 1st in the Smythe Division with 105 points that season. They went on to beat the Los Angeles Kings Kings in the Smythe Division Semi-Finals but were swept in the Smythe Division Final by the Edmonton Oilers dynasty.
I remember taking a few photos of the game but unfortunately they have been lost somewhere over time.
Sadly I have only been to a handful of games because I didn't live in or near Calgary and I can hardly afford to go now that I only live an hour away. But I will always remember my first Calgary Flames game.