In 2004, I attended the Alberta Book Awards on the same evening as game six of the Canucks-Flames first round playoff series. As one of the event organizers, I kept providing updates on the score to the MC who relayed them to the partisan crowd (oh, those not-that-long-ago days before everyone had a smartphone in their pocket!)
But after the Canucks went up 4-0 midway through the second period I stopped providing updates, thinking the game was over and not wanting to put a damper on the evening.
After the event ended, I went to the lobby of our host hotel where I realised that the Flames had come back to tie it 4-4 and the game was now in OT!
So, for one night only, the lounge of the high class Palliser hotel in downtown Calgary suddenly became the world’s most expensive sports bar and although the Flames didn’t prevail that night, losing 5-4 in triple OT, they went on to win game 7 of that series then go on to the Stanley Cup finals.
There are many parallels from that night eleven years ago and last night…
Last night, I attended the Saskatchewan Book Awards as the Flames and Canucks were once again about to play game six of a first round playoff series. In our NHL-less province, the Book Awards crowd was a lot more varied in their fandom and I didn’t expect, nor did I receive, updates from the stage.
And that was fine by me as I went out of my way to avoid using social media, turning on my smartphone at all, and managed to make it home without hearing the score.
After a late night out, I still stayed up to watch game six on PVR and how unbelievable was that game??? I mean, I’ll still think of the Islanders-Oilers playoff matches from my youth as the most exciting hockey I’ve ever watched. But this game is right up there in the Top Ten.
As in 2004, the Flames went down early (3-0 in the first period) and again they fought back to tie the game 3-3. Then they give up a goal. Then they catch up again.
But this time, there would be no need for overtime. The Flames held on to win 7-4 after a late goal to take a one-goal lead followed by a couple empty net goals.
And once again, a Flames team that nearly set an NHL record for come-from-behind 3rd period victories this year did it in ultimate style to eliminate the Canucks and move on to the second round!
No one knows if the 2004 parallels will continue and the Flames will reach the Stanley Cup final again. But whether they do or not, what a great year its been to be a Flames fan!