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Former Flame Jooris thankful for time in Calgary

Jooris, who spent two seasons with the Flames, will face his former club for the first time tonight

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- It's not a normal commute to say the least.

No need for a car, anyway.

Not that Josh Jooris would necessarily feels the need to fight traffic in New York City. 

Nor does he have to.

For the most part.

"Living next to Madison Square Garden is good," Jooris told "The rink's right there.

"It's easy."

But the new New Yorker already knows being bumper-to-bumper is always unavoidable in the Big Apple.

"The thing is … our training facility is about a 50 minute drive away," he said. "I'll carpool with some guys for practice days. You have to beat traffic … you're going to get stuck in traffic no matter what.

"But game days are perfect. You just go walk to morning skate and walk out.

"It's perfect."

Jooris, who signed with the Rangers after two years and 119 games as a member of the Calgary Flames, is settling into his new city off the ice, even though a separated shoulder has limited him to just five skates on the ice with his new team.

It's not easy to do in a town that houses 8.4 million people in 790 km2.

Not when you're coming from one that is just over the million mark in an area only slightly larger.

"It's definitely a big difference," said Jooris, who scored his fourth game with the Rangers. "It's a lot more crowded. More people. At the start you're trying to find your whereabouts and trying to get accustomed to all the streets and avenues and where everything is.

"Once you get past that you find your spots and it's easier." 

It turns out Jooris still gets lost though. 

Not in his new home, necessarily.

His old one.

Returning to Scotiabank Saddledome for his first practice on the other side Friday, Jooris was familiar with the visiting locker room.

But not the visitor's entrance. 

"I came with a teammate and was going in through the backdoor," Jooris said. "I didn't know about the visitor's door. I'm still trying to find my way around. It's a different feel.

"It's definitely a different feel."

Not all feelings are foreign to the Burlington, ON native. 

"It was cool coming back into the city," said Jooris, who had 16 goals and 37 points in his two seasons with the Flames. "It brought back a lot of memories. It felt like coming home. It was two years here.

"This is where I got my start. This is the organization that brought me into the league and gave me my opportunity. I just remember my first games playing here, and how cool it was putting on that jersey. It's something special. It'll stick with me for a long time. 

"There's definitely little memories like making the playoffs and beating Vancouver here … clinching a playoff spot (against LA). 

"I won't forget."

Jooris didn't think it was an option six months ago.

He, along with Joe Colborne and Joni Ortio, were members of the Flames that weren't given qualifying offers, moving the 26-year-old to unrestricted free agent status July 1st.

He signed with the Rangers on July 15th.

"Honestly, if I'm going back, it was definitely a bit of a shock," Jooris said. "We had good talks that I would be back. That's in the past. Things happen for a reason. Great two years here. Had some relationships that have carried forward. I still keep in touch with all those guys. Things happen for a reason.

"It's just the business part of it, too. Johnny and [Sean Monahan] needed new contracts. It came down to a number crunch and a number game. It was out of my control. Whatever happened, happened.

"That's how I was looking at it."

He's not looking back now.

He's looking forward.

To his new team. 

New start. 

New city.

"It's definitely still surreal to me," he said.

"My mom was in town and we kind of just walked around.

"When we went up to the top of the Rockefeller Center you see all the views and all the different historic buildings and everything. That part is still there. You're walking around and you're just seeing things you see on postcards. That part is still there.

"But it's definitely starting to feel more like home."

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