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Fleury, alumni, pumped for outdoor game

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames

When Theo Fleury heard there was going to be an outdoor NHL game held in Calgary he immediately picked up the phone and called The Fan 960. It was during their afternoon talk show with Dean Moberg and Rob Kerr.

"We have got to have an alumni game," Fleury chirped into the ear of Kerr.

Lo and behold, there is an alumni game featuring the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens. Many players from the 1989 Stanley Cup winning team, including Fleury, are set to dress for Calgary. Others include Lanny McDonald, Al MacInnis, Joe Nieuwendyk, Jim Peplinski, Gary Roberts -- who just got over a bout of pneumonia -- and Mike Vernon.

The just-retired Craig Conroy will also play in the game, slated for 4:30 Saturday at McMahon Stadium.

I was driving to work this morning when I heard Fleury on the radio with Moberg and Kerr again. And let me tell you, he sounds stoked.

"I can't wait to play against Claude Lemieux one more time," laughed Fleury who had his share of run-ins with the Montreal pest.

» View the complete alumni rosters here
» Get tickets to alumni game here

Late Thursday, however, there was word that Lemieux might not make it. He is the coach of a midget AAA team in Ontario and there was a possibility that his team would have a Game 7 in the playoffs on Saturday, meaning he might not be able to play.

On that note, many have asked why Doug Gilmour isn't playing. He is coaching Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League and he, too, has commitements to his team that make it impossible for him to make the trip.

Regardless of who might be here and who might not, the game is a celebration of history for the Flames and the Canadiens.

"This is a chance for us to interact with people who have been supporters and season ticket holders of this team for 30-plus years," noted Peplinski, the head of the Flames alumni and a key cog in the organizing of the alumni game.

Fleury, meanwhile, is happy to don a Flames jersey once again. "I have the Flames tattoo on my heart," he said ont he radio.

Getting back to playing outdoors? Well, that is just right up his alley.

"Most os us gre up in small towns playing hockey outdoors. It was like 25 on 25. That's where we learned to pass through legs and skates and work all those tight give and gos," recalled Fleury.

Oh, and we can't leave this out. Just one memory from wining the Cup in 1989.

"I was the third guy into the room and I grabbed a champagne bottle. I shook it up and let it go and hit (goalie Rick Wamsley) Wammer right between the eyes," Fleury laughed.

Wonder how many times that story will be told this weekend.

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