The spectacle that is the ‘C of red’

The sea of red were just words to me before Wednesday.

So much so, I actually learned it’s ‘C of Red’ in honour of the flaming C Calgary has on the front of their jersey.

Sure, I’d seen Calgary Flames games on TV before but the scope of the Flames fan rallying cry was never clear.

From corner to corner inside the Saddledome, outside the arena and even in the bar before the game, you were hard pressed to find a fan without a Flames jersey on at game 4 in their Stanley Cup playoff series with Anaheim. Not just wearing red, but proudly displaying a Gaudreau or Monahan jersey.

There’s imitators of the ‘C’, like the whiteout in Winnipeg and the yellow-out or whatever Nashville is trying to do, but nothing is quite like what they do in Calgary.

Full confession, I’ve only ever been to one NHL playoff game before, with two teams playing I had zero allegiances to, back in 2011 when Buffalo hosted the Philadelphia Flyers. Wednesday night was my second, I’m not a Flames fan, but passionate enthusiast of the playoff hockey tradition. That and my hometown team usually makes a habit of missing the playoffs. But I digress.

I was lucky enough to attend the 2014 NHL Winter Classic and that game had more than 100,000 people in attendance but the atmosphere in Calgary Wednesday rivalled even that.

Of course, the game got off to the worst possible start, after an electric “Go Flames Go” chant rocked the house before the national anthem.

Brain Elliot allowed a weird-angle goal by Patrick Eaves just 5:38 into the game, which led to one of the most bizarre moments I’ve ever seen in hockey.

Elliott was yanked in favour of Chad Johnson after only facing three shots. Elliot played awful in the series and many speculated the Flames should have started Johnson to begin with in Game 4.

Johnson, a product of Calgary Minor Hockey is a fan favourite and drew one of the loudest cheers of the night when he entered the game. Unfortunately, the crowd was quickly silenced when he allowed a goal just over a minute after he came in. From there he stopped 18 shots and held the Flames in it until the very end.

The ‘C of Red’, for all their passion, also yelled one of the loudest collective “SHOOT” I’ve ever witnessed. So vocal, that even in a post period interview on the Jumbotron, one of the Flames forwards acknowledged the advice from the enthusiastic Calgary faithful.

When the Flames scored on the power play late in the second period the building erupted and there was hope again, even if it was fleeting. The fans wanted so bad to will their team to win, more than I’ve ever seen a fan base do before.

They waited with baited breath in the third period, shot after shot turned aside by Ducks goalie John Gibson, it was right there for the taking and the fans rose up at every opportunity.

Hope was lost and dreams were crushed when Ryan Getzlaf slipped the puck into the empty net late. But that wasn’t the way anybody at the Saddledome wanted the season to be remembered.

It ended instead with a serenade of more “Go Flames Go” as the players partook in the annual series-ending handshake tradition. The fans didn’t want to go home, they wanted to stay united like old friends at a high school reunion coming together after years away.

They didn’t throw their jerseys on the ice, they wore them proudly out of the arena and left jovially despite their team being swept four straight games by the Ducks.

The breaks didn’t exactly go the Flames way in the series, but the ‘C’ made the most of their two games in Calgary.

Just Posted

WATCH: Setters Place grand opening in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Setters Place officially opened to the public Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month