The champs are back in town.

And just about everyone’s back together again, as the Flames 1989 Stanley Cup team celebrates its 35th anniversary.

The group was front and centre Thursday morning, as the Flames Alumni held its 30th annual Masters golf tournament at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club.

Smiles all ‘round, and plenty a healthy handshake too.

Time flies, but for the Flames’ Cup-winning captain, it’s a treat for the bulk of the group to be back in the Stampede City.

“It’s amazing that 35 years has gone by that quickly, and to have 18 of the 22 guys be able to get back is absolutely fantastic,” Lanny McDonald said prior to teeing off Thursday.

“It’s like you haven’t missed a beat. To be able to share with each other what’s going on in their lives, how are their kids, how are their grandkids, it’s pretty cool. And then you get to chat about winning it all and the fun we had back then. It’s already been a good week and we’ve only been together for a day.”

The Alumni Masters Golf Tournament returns for its 30th year!

The Stanley Cup is also slated to be part of the team’s celebrations.

In fact, the group plans to re-create the team photo made famous in Calgary sports lore on that famous Thursday night at the Montreal Forum.

“We were kind of talking this morning where everyone sat (in the dressing room), if we could all remember, I think we did a pretty good job of it,” said Joe Nieuwendyk, who captured the first of his three Stanley Cups with the Flames in 1989. “It was a real amazing time and a bond with this city that will live forever, for all of us.”

And indeed, the city of Calgary has resonated with this group of players.

A handful - Mike Vernon, Tim Hunter and Dana Murzyn for example - were born here.

Several more - like Joel Otto, Colin Patterson and Jamie Macoun - stayed, or returned when their playing days were done.


For Hunter, having the out-of-town teammates make the trip back to Calgary is extra-special.

“Walking around the room, I run into Vernie, he goes ‘I don’t need to talk to you, I see you all the time, so beat it!’ I’m looking for Rammer, or Al MacInnis, or Jiri Hrdina, all those guys that we don’t get to see much of, and it’s such a treat to see them,” he said shortly before waving ‘so long’ to a tee shot. “When you’re a teammate, you love everyone but there’s a few guys that you have that are kinda special to you, and it’s so nice to see Jiri Hrdina, him and I were buds and he’s just a hoot.

“I follow him on Instagram, he follows me, we banter back and forth. It’s so nice to see him here, give him a hug and being around him.”


“The guys that live here, they do such a good job with the Alumni, they make us guys who are (from) out of town, when we come in, feel at home right away,” Nieuwendyk agreed. “And it doesn’t take us long, when you win like we did, we know what we all went through together, and that makes it special too.”

Memories - from Joel Otto’s overtime winner against the Canucks, to McDonald’s iconic celebration after scoring in Game 6 in Montreal - that will last a lifetime.

It’s been 35 years - 15 since Gary Roberts, the last member of the team to play in the NHL, retired.

Like Nieuwendyk, Roberts is back in Calgary for the weekend to catch up with friends made over a decade-long stay here.

“(It’s) just really nice to see everybody, we had a really close group (when we) won the Stanley Cup,” he said. “I’m not sure you win Stanley Cups without having a close group, we definitely had that. It’s just going to be a great three days, hanging out with the guys, telling stories.”

And after winning the Cup at 23, Roberts admits he thought he’d spend the rest of his career as a Flame.

After leaving, he went on to play 11 seasons with five other NHL clubs including his hometown Maple Leafs.

But through it all, and now in retirement, the good memories from his time in Calgary stand out.

“I think about the management, I think about how we were treated as Calgary Flames,” he recalled.

“Calgary still holds a soft spot in my heart, for sure.”