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BEST. GAME. EVER.

Our season-ticket holders have some amazing stories to tell. For Stan Jaycock, nothing topped the night he got the surprise of his life when his son pulled on the Flaming C and played for the team

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

Nothing could ever top that night in '89. 

No, not the one that remains the most pivotal moment in franchise history - the one when the Flames secured Lord Stanley's mug at the grand old Montreal Forum.

Rather, that night earlier in the fall. An otherwise blasé tie with the Washington Capitals that for most was but a trace in history, but remains the capstone of Stan Jaycock's venerable Flames fandom. 

"I was on my way to the game with my daughter, Cindy, and we were going to meet up with my sister and brother-in-law for dinner at the Big Four," recalls the Day 1 season-ticket holder who's about to embark on both his and the organization's 40th season in lockstep.

"I'm stopped at a red light along 12th ave and the next thing I know, there's a knock on the window and it's my son, Randy. I said, 'You're all dressed up, where are you going?' He said, 'Oh, I'm going to the game!' 

"I looked at him all confused, wondering why he wasn't wearing red or something.

"So, I'm like, 'You're going to the game dressed like that?'

"Then, I clued in: 'Wait ... are you playing?

"We rushed dinner and I told everyone we had to go and watch the warmup. They didn't really know why. 

"The next thing you know, we're inside the Saddledome and we're watching Randy on the ice, wearing the Flaming C.

"That was the moment for me."

The crown jewel of a journey that began in 1980 when Stan hopped on with Calgary's new NHL franchise, watching every season up close and in person, beginning at the old Stampede Corral ("Southwest corner, Row 19, Seats 5 and 6").

Imagine the shock. 

The surprise.

Just nine years later, and after spending "countless" hours together on the communal side of the glass, the father-son bond took on a whole new meaning.

Mike Vernon was out due to back spasms. 

Steve Guenette - the starter with the Flames' IHL affiliate in Salt Lake City, was next in line but couldn't make it to Calgary in time. 

Enter Randy, then 28, who signed a $750 amateur tryout contract to dress as backup to Rick Wamsley. 

Randy wasn't exactly new to the scene. He was coming off a promising WHL career, been to a few Flames camps, and even saw some time in the American League with Baltimore the year prior. 

It was enough to grab the attention of Flames GM Cliff Fletcher, who kept Randy's number close by for just this occasion.

But Stan, who spent his entire working career with CFAC Radio, never saw this coming - and certainly not under the same roof where players such as McDonald, Mullen, Gilmour, Nieuwendyk and Loob made history. 

 

 

"I've taken more people to hockey games than I can shake a stick at," Stan said. "Randy and I, we went all the time. He was such a hockey nut.

"And then to actually see him on the same ice of the team we loved? 

"I don't have to tell you, but I was pretty emotional.

"That was his dream. Then, it quickly turned into our dream, too - to see our 'little' boy wearing that sweater.

"We never expected that. Definitely not back then, when team news wasn't as easy to come by as it is today."

It was the kind of moment that makes you appreciate the sanctity of the sport, and how - somehow, some way - the game inevitably brings people together. 

While hockey was Randy's chief love, Stan was a bit of a rising star on the diamond, playing fastball during his time at Western Canada High School. It was then, in the early '50s, when he met a talented young slugger named Martin Vernon. 

The future father of the very netminder whose number hangs proudly over the ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome, today.

"We played together for two or three years, but we stayed in touch, met up every now and then and shared a meal together," Stan said. 

"Eventually, I met Mike. He was probably 14 at the time - Randy, the same age. They didn't know each other, but they were both chasing after the same thing at the same time. 

"One was 5-8, the other, 5-9."

Truly, two lives running in parallel. One, whose ailment many years later paved the way for the other's long-awaited 'Rudy' moment.

"Randy, like Mike, wanted to be a goalie from a very early age," Stan continues. "I said, 'You've got to be kidding me...' I just knew how tough it would be. On any given team, remember, you have only have two goalies - not the 16 skaters they had back then.

"So, he was in tough.

"I remember our basement wasn't finished at the time, so I built him a net. We got a stick and some old equipment and I fired 50 to 100 shots on him every night. ... That's how I taught him. He did well. He 'survived.' And turned into one of the best goalkeepers in his age group. 

"He even had a higher save percentage than Vernon did a few of those years.

"I guess talent ran in the family!"

 

 

No joke.

And it wasn't just baseball that Stan excelled at.

He also played high levels of hockey, winning a scoring title with the Victoria Community Association before graduating to the junior ranks. In the off-season, he was a track and field star, setting a mile-run record at Western Canada that stood for four years. He also played football and, after his playing days were over, worked as a coach, official, executive, administrator, statistician and more for the University of Calgary, and Calgary Stampeders for more than two decades.

In every way imaginable, Stan wove himself into the fabric of the Calgary sporting community. 

That sense of pride and belonging is why the Flames are so important to him. His aisle seats behind the net in Section 103 have seen more smiles than anyone could count. Nowadays, he attends only a few games a year, at most - treating his family, instead, so they can experience the wonder of a live game and make memories with their families, like he did for the past four decades.

However, there is one game on his calendar this year that he wouldn't miss for the world. 

"October 15th (vs. Philadelphia)," Stan said. "My granddaughter is the only member of my family I haven't taken to a Flames game yet, and it's her 18th birthday a few days before that.

"I couldn't think of anything better.

"There's nothing like going to a game. For someone that's been around as long as I have, it's even better. You know the people in your section, the ushers, the great people that work the concessions…

"You share wisdom, stories, laughs and high-fives. 

"That's what makes going to a game so great.

"It's always about the people." 

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