Okay, okay, I must admit, although somewhat shamefully, I am not a huge hockey fan, even though my partner is, and I am CanadiaN. I enjoy seeing the big games (i.e. the Playoffs) or anything live in person, but watching hockey on TV is like watching golf on TV. Just no interest whatsoever. However, yesterday was a bit different …
It’s incredible to see the fans come out of the woodwork when any hockey team (or any sport, I’m sure, for that matter) plays in their hometown. Such has been the fervor over the past few weeks in Calgary over the Calgary Flames hockey team. 17th Avenue (just one street north of where we live) runs into the Calgary Stampede grounds, where the Flames play their games, at the Saddledome. For several years now, 17th Avenue has been known as the ‘Red Mile’ because whenever the flames play in the Playoffs, 17th Avenue fills up with the Flames fans who are wearing the team’s flaming red jerseys. The noise levels are astounding and the ensuing entertainment is quite fascinating to watch (for a short time, anyway). The police patrol in 2s on every corner. This is due to the notoriety of this infamous Mile several years ago, when there was a lot of violence during the Playoffs on 17th and the crowds got out of hand. To see the Police presence is quite formidable and comforting.
Sunday’s game was ‘do or die’ for the Flames. They were playing Detroit and vying for their survival within the series. If they lost, the Flames were out. So the pressure was on and the fans were at a fever-pitch frenzy of support. Slade and I decided to go to the bar called ‘Flame Central’. It’s not just any bar … it used to be a huge theatre before they completely overhauled it into a media emporium of sight, sound and sensory overload. There must have been at least 30 flat screen TVs and a giant projection screen … it made for an impressive surround sound event with fans cheerleading beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. When the teams went into overtime tied 1-1, I was ready to head home. I didn’t need to wait it out to see who would win. I was actually pretty certain that Detroit would come out ahead, leaving the Flames nursing their wounds until next years playoffs.
I predicted correctly the somber outcome, and the red mile was quiet and colourless on the Sunday evening Detroit extinguished the flames over Calgary.