CALGARY, AB -- The flight was ready to board. There were a couple thousand miles yet to travel. And it had already been a hectic few hours for Johnny Gaudreau.
"I'm extremely excited,'' said the wee wizard, undoubtedly hankering for some shuteye on the journey north and due west.
"This (process) has been extremely difficult. But at the end of the day, I wanted to be there to help my team Wednesday night and the best option for me was to take this deal, come to Calgary, get back on the ice with my teammates and help us win."
Crisis was averted Sunday when the Gaudreau camp and the Calgary Flames reached an agreement worth just over $40 million to keep the mesmerizing winger here for the next half dozen seasons.
The relief is palpable everywhere across this city.
"He was kinda driving us crazy, because he just wanted to get out there and play,'' said his mom, Jane. "It's bittersweet because my younger son Matty, who plays at Boston College, left at the end of August and John went to the World Cup.
"It was kind of an added advantage that he got to come home. We thought it would only be for a couple of days until they ironed out the differences.
"It ended up being much longer than that. The good news is he got the contract, is on his way and won't miss any games.
"That's what he was concerned about and upset about.
"It's good. He'll be fine. He's just anxious to get back and get playing. He loves Calgary. That's all he kept saying. 'I love Calgary. I love the fans there. I love my teammates. I just want to get back to that.'
"He wanted to be there with his teammates."
And after a lot of back-and-forth, give-and-take, he will. Wednesday, Rogers Arena, 8 p.m. puck drop. The Battle of Alberta.
Now more than ever, the place to be.