CALGARY – Among the ‘C’ of Red was a splattering of orange during Game 4 at Scotiabank Saddledome. Though outnumbered, Ducks fans made their presence known as their team continues to push toward a Stanley Cup championship. Here are a few of their stories:
Vancouver native Shane Byer (pictured above) showed up to the game wearing a black Ducks hat and a t-shirt pressed with the last name of a former Canuck, Ryan Kesler, while his wife (a Calgary native) was wearing a home red Flames sweater. The Byers are from Vancouver and flew up earlier today. Shane says he still remains a diehard Kesler fan, so much so that he and his wife named their second child Kesler. “After you name your kid Kesler, you have to be loyal, right?” he says. “I switched to the Anaheim Ducks, and now that they’re playing Calgary, there’s a good rivalry between me and my wife.” Byer says he likes Kesler because he’s a polarizing figure. “You either like him or you hate him, and I like that,” he says. “I like somebody who sticks up for what they believe in. That’s Kesler. And he’s a great hockey player. The Ducks are a better team with Kesler and what he brings to the team.”
|Noah Brown (third from the right) wears his Ryan Getzlaf jersey with pride. |
Decked out in home sweaters, Bailey and Logan Urick drove six hours from their native Saskatchewan to take in tonight’s game. Though he’s been a Ducks fan since the age of six, tonight marks only the third time Logan has seen his favorite team play in person, and the first time ever in the postseason. Bailey’s favorite player happens to be a recognizable figure in the area. “My favorite player is Ryan Getzlaf,” she says proudly, “Ever since he was a member of the Calgary Hitmen, he’s been my favorite. I just loved him.” Logan’s favorite player is none other than No. 8. “I’m a Saskatchewan boy, but I’ve always been a Teemu Selanne fan,” he says. His other favorites are Getzlaf and linemate Corey Perry.
Noah Brown is here for one player, and he made it known by yelling it out among the mass of Flames fans around him. “Ryan Getzlaf!” he says proudly, while wearing a No. 15 home jersey. Brown drove six hours to watch Getzlaf and the Ducks tonight. “Getzlaf is the best center in the league,” he says. “He kills penalties. He does it all.”
|Billy Reynolds (left) drove seven and a half hours from Montana to see the Ducks play tonight. |
Billy Reynolds made the trek to Scotiabank Saddledome from his home in Montana. Born and raised in Southern California, Reynolds drove seven and a half hours to make it to the game tonight. “I left at seven this morning, and now I’m here,” he says. “I was delayed a little bit at the border because they probably saw my jerseys hanging in the back of the car and the flag in the window.” Reynolds says he thought he was going to witness a potential elimination game tonight, but with Calgary’s 4-3 overtime win on Tuesday, the series will go at least five games (Game 5 is on Sunday at Honda Center). Nevertheless, Reynolds says he’s happy just to be here. “That would’ve been ideal, but we’ll take Game 4 and finish it up on Sunday.”
Also wearing a Getzlaf jersey, Fort Saskatchewan native Jordan Hillmer says he’s here to see the Ducks “take control of this series.” A three hour drive from Calgary, Hillmer made the trek earlier today and says Getzlaf is his favorite player. Tonight marks Hillmer’s first time seeing the Ducks in person in Calgary.
Ducks season ticket holder Shelly Russell held serve in front of a Selanne autographed jersey up for auction on the main concourse. A native of Orange, Russell works for the City of Anaheim and after the first round decided she wasn’t going to miss a road game in the second round. “I decided I was going to Vancouver or Calgary, and this is where I ended up,” she says, with her white road sweater and orange rally towel in hand. Russell hasn’t been to Calgary since a week-long trip 15 years ago which included a Ducks-Flames game. “As long as we stay out of the penalty box and play smart with no turnovers in the neutral zone or in our end, we’ll have it made,” she says.
|Lethbridge, Alberta native Alex Halvorsen decided to go old school with his jersey selection tonight. |
Keeping it old school, Lethbridge, Alberta native Alex Halvorsen is taking in his first-ever Ducks game wearing an eggplant and jade Mighty Ducks jersey. His allegiance to the Ducks dates back to his childhood years, and his favorite players are Getzlaf and Perry. “I’m just trying to not make any fans too unhappy,” he says with a smile. “I’m trying not to get any popcorn thrown at me or anything like that. But it’s really nice to be here to watch the game.” Halvorsen says this is Anaheim’s year. “The Ducks are going all the way,” he says. “Calgary has no chance.”
Orange County natives (and first-year Ducks season ticket holders) David and Fawn Longridge made the trip from Southern California to take in the sights and sounds of postseason hockey. “We’ve wanted to go to an away game, and this was the perfect opportunity,” David says. “Calgary fans have been really friendly.” The Longridges say they ran into Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau in the hotel lobby earlier today, and Anaheim’s bench boss had one thing to say to the couple. “Tonight, we’re going to make it worth your while.”