By car, Las Vegas to Calgary shouldn’t exceed 19 hours of total drive time.

But after having his flight cancelled on the trek back from the draft, a circuitous route home was no biggie for Andrew Basha and his crew bound for YYC.

“I'll never forget that road trip,” Basha recalled. “It took us about 22 hours, give or take, because my one buddy kept getting car sick. So, every 30 minutes, we were pulling over so he could throw up.

“It was pretty hilarious, actually. Like, what else could delay us at that point?”

Basha, the Flames’ second-round pick – 42nd overall – was one of the hundreds, if not thousands of Calgarians trying to hitch a ride back to the Stampede City. But with cancellations happening en masse, and the competitors’ bookings being snatched up in seconds, the Basha clan smartly switched to Plan B.

“My dad had originally driven down, anyway,” he said. “He loves road trips and it's a beautiful drive, so he had his car and then we rented a mini-van. We stuffed all the luggage into his car and the rest of us – all seven of us – piled into the van and hit the road.

“And every seat was taken.

“I was getting pretty sick of everyone, so we had the headphones and movies on,” he added with a laugh. “But honestly, I saw so many things I never thought I'd get to see. Driving through Zion (National Park in Utah) was pretty cool. Montana's pretty beautiful and places like Salt Lake City, which I'd never seen before, was awesome, too.

“It could’ve been a pretty stressful situation, but we made the most of it.”

For Basha and his fellow 2024 draftees, the whirlwind they’re feeling at Flames Development Camp in indescribable.

Remember, it was less than a week ago when the sniping winger had his name called in the Entertainment Capital of the World, and almost immediately shaping his future here, at home, and for the team he grew up cheering for.

He famously wears No. 34 as a nod to Miikka Kiprusoff, and fondly recalls when Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan were tearing it up as a duo, in that iconic red swag.

Basha pauses, looks down, and soaks in the moment as that classic Flames logo – emblazoned on his chest – stares back at him following an off-ice workout in the same rink he cut his teeth in.

The former Glenlake Minor Hockey standout still can’t believe it worked out this way.

“Once I put on that gear for the first time, it was surreal,” Basha said. “And now that I have my legs under me and know more of the guys, it's pretty amazing. Just couldn't be more grateful for everything and everyone that helped me get to this point, especially all my friends and family at the draft.

“I wouldn't be standing here today without them and they took money out of their own supports to support me.

“The fact that you guys interviewed them with their shirts, that was pretty hilarious.

“It was a dream for them, too, being big Flames fans.”

Now, they can all look forward.

Basha has already made his presence known here at Development Camp, wowing a legion of onlookers with his innate, offensive instincts, marvellous edgework and his ability to finish in tight.

After putting up a sizzling 85 points (30G, 55A) in 63 games with the WHL’s Tigers last year, Basha is looking to kick it up a notch this coming season.

“I want to be a guy next year, if I go back to Medicine Hat, that dominates every shift,” he said. “With that, you have to be in better shape than everyone, you have to be stronger than everyone, quicker than everyone.

“And for me, it’s about carving out and shaping those intangibles that can help in those areas. Things like scanning the ice, anticipating – overall, finding ways to make plays that split-second faster.

“I battled through a lot last season and was dealing with something for basically the entire second half, but I’m still really happy with how the year went.

“I learned a lot about myself and how life works, what can change and what can happen. I learned a lot about the mental side of the game and how – through ups and downs, and especially the downs – you can grow. You have to be yourself and be confident, and I know having learned that now, I’m going to bring a ton of confidence to my game next season.”

Oh, and one more thing:

If you make the trip to the Basha-owned Garrison Pub & Eatery in Altadore, try the fish and chips.

They’re to die for.

“But honestly, everything’s good,” Andrew smiled.