Royalty Tours USA

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Royalty revisits Western Canada over President's/Family Day Weekend!‏


Hello Calgary

It was a long time since we went to Western Canada.

The King and I were there one other time way back on March 20-23, 1998.

We flew to Calgary that Friday and we saw the Flames play the Islanders that night.

That Saturday we went to Edmonton to see the Oilers play the Blues and Sunday night they played the Islanders.

We flew back from Calgary that Monday.

While we were there we went to the West Edmonton Mall. What an experience that was. It had everything a shopper could dream of. It also had a beach and a casino. It was amazing to say the least.

This time we flew to Calgary again. Upon arrival, we rented a car from Hertz for the weekend so we could go back to Edmonton and Red Deer which is located right in the middle of them.

We arrived in Calgary in the early afternoon. Since we were staying in Red Deer we didn't have the luxury of dropping off our bags at the hotel before the hockey game we were attending in Calgary.

So we decided to go get some early dinner since we were hungry from flying all day. It really wasn't so early because we gained two hours due to the time zone change there. They're on Mountain time.

As for eating, we went to the Husky House restaurant which is part of a gas station but knowing from past experience in Canada it's a good place to eat. As expected, we weren't disappointed.

After we ate we took a ride into Centre Ville which is how they refer to downtown. We drove around for a while to try and see if we could bring back flashbacks of 1998. In matter of fact, we vaguely did. The skyline looked familiar in particular with the Calgary tower standing out.

After doing that we noticed a casino that was within walking distance of the Saddledome. So we found a free parking spot on the street nearby and we were good for the night.

We went into the Stampede Casino which I know for a fact didn't exist back in 1998.

We spent an hour or so in there then we braved the elements as we took the short walk to the game.

It was a unique game because it was a minor league hockey game between the Abbotsford Heat who are the Calgary Flames affiliate and the Oklahoma City Barons who are the Edmonton Oilers farm team.

It was also the first time these two teams played each other. The Barons just came into the league this season. The Heat have been around only a few years as well.

It would have been better if the Flames were home but it still gave us a chance to see the Saddledome again.

As for the Saddledome, it's quite a unique structure. It reminded us of the old Capital Centre in Landover where the Washington Capitals used to play on the outside. It had the same potato chip roof style to it. It looks like the roof is caving in hence the name "Saddle" Dome. It's located right in Stampede Park which includes the old barn, the Corral, where the Flames played their first few years upon moving from Atlanta in 1980. 

When we got inside it was a lot different from most new arenas these days. This venue isn't that old. It opened in 1983. By today's standards it's ancient.

The concourse was rather wide and they had displays of the Flames history including their Stanley Cup Championship in 1989.

The arena has two levels which were open. In addition, there's a third level on one side that stayed closed since they didn't expect a full house.

As a result, we got to get a great view of the action. Speaking of the action, the Abbotsford Heat had taken a early 1-0 lead. Later in the game the Barons scored to tie it up at one.

With overtime looming, Alexandre Giroux of the Barons lit the lamp with just 1:06 left in regulation that proved to be the game winner as the Barons added an empty net goal with 42 seconds left to seal the deal.

The Barons won, 3-1!

After the game, we drove to Red Deer to spent the night as we got ready for a big hockey day on Saturday.

Stay tuned for the next installment.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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