After publishing our first installment of Stories from the C of Red, we were slammed with even more tales, traditions and photos. Here are some more stories from fans that truly embody the spirit and passion of the game:
Seeing the Calgary Flames in action isn’t the easiest task for 12-year-old Tyler Tanski. Being a resident of Windermere, Florida means that Tanski is only able to see the team come into the state every three or four seasons but last year, he was able to catch a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dion Phaneuf, who had five assists in the victory, handed his stick to Tanski after the game.
|Tyler Tanski, of Florida, with his hero Dion Phaneuf. |
“Needless to say, my son was on cloud nine for quite a while after that,” said Tanski’s father, Greg.
This season, the pair made a seven-hour journey to Atlanta to see the Flames take on the Thrashers. They stayed at the same hotel as the team and Tanski was able to meet his heroes.
“When Dion Phaneuf stopped to sign, my son told him the story about getting his stick the year before and Dion seemed thrilled that he still had the stick and it went to a real fan.”
Tanski got an even bigger surprise at the game when he ran into Phaneuf’s family.
“When we were going to our seats, Dion's mom stopped us and introduced herself to us, saying that Dion had been telling her about a boy from Florida that he had given his stick to. She took the time to talk to my son and take a picture with us.”
Tanski is eagerly awaiting his next chance to see the team in action.
“Everyone that we met during that trip seemed genuinely excited that there were Flames fans there. He can't wait for the Flames to come to Florida next year so he can see Dion and the rest of the Flames again.”
In 2006, Terry Pavlenko and his friends traveled an astounding 7,700 kilometers for the sole purpose of taking in a Flames road trip. During their journey they were able to take in games against the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues as well as two junior games in Winnipeg and Swift Creek.
“It was a great experience and we hope to do it again for the Canadian cities.”
While in both American cities, Pavlenko was fortunate enough to almost every member of the team due to the fact they stayed at the same hotels as the club.
“Everyone was cordial and they were all impressed that we had driven so far.”
The Okotoks native got to know some of the players very well during the short time he spent with them.
“Dion (Phaneuf) was great,” he said. “I made a crack about his hair and he thought I was complimenting it and he said that the guys on the team make fun of it, and then he invited us to dinner.”
|Terry Pavlenko in St. Louis. |
Former Flame Darren McCarty earned a spot in all of their hearts with his kindness.
“He would look for us at the rinks and around the hotel just to say hi. He also took my team signed jersey to get missing signatures back in Calgary, so I have a great souvenir.”
Roy Lloyd of Wales, UK, has been a hockey fan for a number of years, supporting his local club the Cardiff Devils, but when he met his wife Carla, a Calgarian, he became a die-hard Flames fan.
During the famous 2004 playoffs, Lloyd began to avidly follow the club and sleep became a luxury. Due to the time difference Lloyd was forced to stay up well into the wee hours of the night to catch games and often went to work running on a mere three hours of sleep.
“My favorite memories of the 2004 run was the running to work and being half asleep at my desk,” he told CalgaryFlames.com
Games that went into overtime meant Lloyd got dressed during the contest and then flew off to work, getting no sleep at all.
“I was dressed in shirt and tie, jacket on standing at the door and had to run all the way to work and was celebrating all the way.”
His son Campbell, age three at the time, also became a fan of the Flames and the family had a kid’s jersey shipped over from Calgary for him to wear.
The family moved to Calgary in Feb. 2008 and Lloyd was able to attend the home opener during last year’s playoffs – his first NHL game.
“When the team came out and the anthem started there was a tear in my eye,” he said. “The next stage is to take Campbell to a playoff game and sit in the 200's at least.”
Mike and Karen Baran of Calgary have taken their love of the game to entirely new level. In 2007, both of them took a year off from working to write a book on their experiences of following Flames, Flame Fanning: When Hobby Turns Into Obsession. Both are life-long fans of the club and the book chronicles every twist and turn in their journey as fans. Writing it wasn’t for profit; it was simply to achieve their goal of writing a book while channeling their love of hockey into something Mike coined as “immortal.”
“After we’re gone, there’s still that book with our names on it,” he said.
The season ticket holders have amassed a large collection of hockey memorabilia. Over the years they’ve been lucky enough to get 125 game-used sticks, over 300 jerseys and numerous other game-used pieces of equipment.
“Our game used stick collection is too big to be displayed at the moment,” was the reply when asked where they house their collection. “We have a dream of one day turning a room in our house into an exact replica of the Flames dressing room. Only then will our collection of game used goodies truly feel at home.”
Karen’s favourite memory comes from the 2007 playoffs after a huge win over the Detroit Red Wings at home. After the game had ended, the duo headed down to the lower bowl to see the stars of the game. Miikka Kiprusoff was awarded the first star of the contest and gave Karen his game-used stick.
“Our hero made a dream come true for the two luckiest fans in the NHL,” Mike said.