Faceoff for the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic Alumni Game is less than 10 minutes away here at McMahon Stadium.
Excitement has been building throughout the afternoon as the alums from the Calgary Flames prepare to rekindle their late 1980s rivalry with alum from the Montreal Canadiens. The teams met in the Stanley Cup Final twice in the span of four years. Montreal won the first match in 1986, but Calgary gained revenge in 1989, claiming the Stanley Cup at the Montreal Forum to add insult to injury for the proud Flames.
The two alumni rosters are loaded.
Three Hall opf Famers are involved: Lanny McDonald and Al MacInnis are playing for the Flames, and Bob Gainey is coaching for Montreal.
But that is just the beginning of the talent that has been assembled. Mike Vernon, playing goal for the first time since his retirement, Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts and Theo Fleury are playing for Calgary.
Montreal's Guy Carbonneau is joined by Russ Courtnall (Montreal), Jyrki Lumme (Montreal) and Sergio Momesso (Montreal) on board.
It is a perfect late afternoon for hockey as well. Temps are hovering around minus-15 as the sun starts to fall to the horizon and warming a rather large crowd of fans gathered in the east side of the stadium.