By now, all Boston College hockey fans know that Johnny Gaudreau won the Hobey Baker Award on Friday night. They also know that Gaudreau and Bill Arnold are heading north of the border to play for the Calgary Flames.
For the senior Arnold, the 2014 NCAA Tournament was always destined to be his last rodeo in maroon and gold, whereas for the junior Gaudreau, we merely suspected it since this season began.
Calgary is not going to make the playoffs this year in their stacked Western Conference, but the word on the street is that Gaudreau and Arnold will play in the Flames’ season finale against the Vancouver Canucks. Think of it as the hockey equivalent of a September call-up in baseball, which should be exciting for the local fans to see.
Whether or not either of them makes the club out of camp next season is an entirely different matter, but until further notice, two-thirds of what was the best forward line I have seen in my ten years as a fan of Boston College hockey will call Calgary home. I recently had to educate some folks on where Gaudreau and Arnold are heading, and quite a few Eagles fans may develop a soft spot for this team over the years, so it’s time to learn more about Calgary and the Flames.
Calgary Fun Facts
• Calgary is located in the province of Alberta, the second-furthest west of the provinces. Since it’s out west, a flight from Logan Airport to Calgary International Airport might take about five hours.
• The thriving and fast-growing Calgary is the third-largest city in Canada behind Toronto and Montreal, home to about 1.1 million people in the city proper. Amongst them (when not at his day job in Ottawa) is Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister.
• Climatologically, the city is (as one might expect) colder than Boston, but not by a lot. Boston’s average high temperature in January is about 36F; Calgary’s is 30F. They also average only about a foot of snow more than we do each winter.
• Boston is on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, but Calgary is near the foot of the Rocky Mountains. About an hour and a half away from the city is the mountain resort town of Banff and its national park of the same name, the photos of which speak for themselves.
• In addition to the Flames, Calgary also plays host to the Stampeders out of the CFL and the Roughnecks from the National Lacrosse League.
Calgary Flames Facts
• The Flames have been in Calgary since 1980, relocating from Atlanta.
• The team plays at the Scotiabank Saddledome near the heart of the city.
• Johnny and Bill’s new head coach is Bob Hartley, who coached the Avalanche to a Stanley Cup title in 2001.
• Speaking of, the Flames have hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup once. That was in 1989, when Calgary beat Le Club du Hockey in six games. Calgary has been out of the playoffs since 2009, something our former Eagles would doubtlessly like to change.
• The Flames’ mascot is Harvey the Hound, and Craig MacTavish is not a big fan.