Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Cinderella on Fire

Unbelievable! A true Cinderella Story... The Calgary Flames have managed to eliminate the Detroit Red Wings, the team that finished first place over all in the National Hockey League this year, and a damned skilled team to boot! Yes folks, Hockeytown has gone down in flames...

It was incredible enough when Calgary made in past the first round of the playoffs, sending the Vancouver Canucks to the golf course... The city has gone wild with an excitement it hadn't felt in 15 years. People everywhere are suddenly rooting for the home town boys once again... Bars are packed on game nights... You can't go anywhere without seeing a Flames Jersey, a "Go Flames Go" sign, or a Flaming C flag... And with last night's victory securing a place in the third round, the Conference Final, it's just going to get crazier!

Not long after Martin Gelinas ended Detroit's season in the final minute of the first overtime period of Game 6, the fans began pouring out of the Saddledome and bombarding the local area bars and restaurants to celebrate. An estimated 10,000 people (half the capacity of the arena) flooded down 17th Ave, the trendy night-spot strip just west of the 'Dome, causing the police to eventually shut the street down. People were dancing in the back of pickup trucks, running through the streets in their underwear (admittedly, a strange way to show support for the team...), and generally partying like it was Y2K all over again. Throughout the rest of the city, cars were honking their horns in victory well past 3am.

Encouragingly, local law enforcement reported this morning that, despite the carrying-on, the cheering fans behaved rather well, and there were no arrests made... Not bad when you consider the aforementioned 10,000 people packed into a couple square miles filled with alcohol!

And so, we now await the beginning of the Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks... Our boys have a few days to rest and heal before throwing themselves into the "Shark Tank", and this city has a chance to recover from last night's celebration. And, if this is how we react to making past round two, what will happen if we actually make it to the Stanley Cup Finals? One can only imagine...
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