NHL Coleman for blog off practice

Blake Coleman is writing a blog for NHL.com as the Calgary Flames prepare to play the Edmonton Oilers in the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, SN, TBS, MAX).

In the second installment, the forward discusses his first impressions of being on the ground in Edmonton for the practice they had at Commonwealth Stadium, the family skate that followed, and playing under the lights on Sunday.

Sunday is business. But on Saturday we were able to mix in a bit of pleasure, too.

We got our first look at Commonwealth Stadium, the home for the Heritage Classic, with a practice that met the air -- crisp. It's cool; it's fun to see. Obviously, it's a big stadium. It holds a lot of people. I think feeling that air on your face and that completely different element is a lot of fun. For me, it reminds me of the few times I got to skate on ponds and outdoor rinks back home. Not back home but growing up in Texas, but we traveled to tournaments and those memories of skating on outdoor rinks were so special because it was such a rare opportunity for me.

Adding to it, too, was the opportunity to share the sheet with family. My parents are here, my sister, so it's really fun to share moments like this with them. They were just watching. I don't think my mom has been on skates in 30 years and my dad, maybe once in his life has been on skates. They were here for support and to check it all out and take it in.

We participated in a family skate after our practice, and our two little girls got to hit the ice with me. They were both really excited. My wife Jordan is a trooper. She came out and shuffled around as best she could, trying to take care of one of the kids at a time. My youngest daughter, Carson, this is her first time on skates. Pretty cool memory that she gets to have, having her first time ever skating being on the outdoor rink at the Heritage Classic.

For me, the facility brought me a little closer to back home in Texas too, oddly enough. It's got a little flair of the Friday Night Lights. I used to go to a lot of football games and, as crazy as it sounds, high school stadiums in Texas tend to look like this. It feels a lot like this. It's going to be a fun event for fans. It's just really unique. I guess in a way you could say it pays homage to high school football in Texas.

I wore eye black in practice. It's supposed to help with the effects of bright sunlight or stadium floodlights. In one of my two college games it was a really sunny day and you do notice a difference in that. I think for the most part it’s just guys wanting to put on some eye black and get that experience. Some guys might claim it works, but I just did it for the experience.

Another experience I wouldn't mind, and something we wouldn't have ever seen on a football field back home, is a mix of flurries. I wouldn't mind a little snow on Sunday. I think it'd have a little magic to it.

There'll be no shortage of magic regardless. The Battle of Alberta is a big game whenever it's played, and taking it outdoors at the Heritage Classic is going to be memorable.

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