We enter McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado. Both my parents, my brother and I make our way up those stairs to the entrance of the arena. For my eight year old brother and I, it was our first NHL game.
We take our seats in the corner of the lower bowl and look down upon the visiting team’s net and, were the players on the ice, over the goalie’s right shoulder.
The announcer calls the fans to their feet as the Colorado Rockies take to the ice. The Rockie players do their warm ups as the fans clap along and yell to Rock n’ Roll, Part Two.
Then, my heart jumps, as quietly from the other entrance, the team from my hometown filters onto the ice. In their red jerseys with the white flaming “C”, the Calgary Flame first appeared in celebration of my tenth birthday.
Perhaps ironic, but when the Rockies left Denver in 1982 to become the New Jersey Devils, the Calgary Flames moved their minor league club to Denver and we had a season of the Colorado Flames.
Long story short, the Flames are my team…regardless of the fact I actually like football more than hockey. The Flames have always been that comfortable fit…and might have something to do with them being the first team I watched, in any sport, to win a championship…beating the Montreal Canadiens for Lord Stanley in 1989.
Regardless, I could not skate…still can’t…but I still find this team has me watching more often than any other…the one sports franchise that causes my heart to burn and my blood to bleed red, yellow and black.