CALGARY, AB -- Last weekend, hundreds of minor hockey players hit the ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome to participate in the Sport Chek and Flames Ultimate Big League Experience, getting a taste of what it is like to play in a professional game and gain some valuable advice from the Flames coaching staff.
"There are no hockey fans more passionate than Calgarians. We see this with the Flames, Hitmen and at all levels of our game," said Flames Vice President of Sales Rollie Cyr. "The Big League Experience combined with a skills camp is a perfect way to honour this passion, give back to the hockey community and continue to make the Saddledome, the hockey hub of our city."
On Saturday, eight games were held with spotlighted player introductions, in-game announcers and video montages on the Energy Board. On Sunday, players had the chance to practice with Flames Hockey School instructors, Flames head coach Bob Hartley, associate coach Jacques Cloutier, assistant coach Martin Gelinas, goaltending coach Clint Malarchuk and senior video analyst Jamie Pringle.
"On behalf of the Midnapore Warriors I would like to send a BIG THANK YOU to you and the Flames organization. What an amazing morning for the kids and fans," Karin Henderson said in an email. "Everyone at the Dome was so friendly and really made the players feel like super stars!
"The 'extras' that came along with the experience were a hit and very appreciated by the players. What a great way to start off our season so grateful we got to be a part of the Big League Experience!"
Val Robins noted the Ultimate Big League Experience was appreciated as much by the parents as it was by the kids.
"My son plays on Glenlake Atom 1 and I have honestly never seen him so happy as when he stepped on the ice for the big game. He had an incredible game and won the Heart and Hustle award so it was a peak moment for him that none of us will ever forget.
"I can’t thank you enough for the work that was put into making this such an unbelievable event for the players and the families. As a parent it actually made up for all those years of driving and wrangling kids out at bed at crazy hours to practice!"