Sports in Calgary - NHL Flames, CFL Stampeders, Calgary
The Scotiabank Saddledome is the primary indoor arena of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It has a seating capacity of 19,289 people.
Located on the Stampede Grounds, on the east end of downtown Calgary, the Saddledome was built in 1983 to replace the Stampede Corral as the home of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League, and to host ice hockey and figure skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Today the arena is also home to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League and the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League.
The facility also hosts concerts, conferences and other sporting championships, and events for the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. It underwent a major renovation in 1994–95, during which its original name of Olympic Saddledome was changed to Canadian Airlines Saddledome. The facility was given the name Pengrowth Saddledome in 2000, after Pengrowth Management Ltd. signed a ten-year agreement. It adopted its current name in October 2010 as Scotiabank signed on as title sponsor.
The Saddledome is owned by the City of Calgary who leased it to the Saddledome Foundation, a non-profit organization, to oversee its operation. It is managed by the Calgary Flames, who have a lease agreement until 2014.
Calgary Flames games at the Saddledome are an intimate, smaller venue NHL experience that you will surely enjoy. Great energy from the fans, but make sure you get seats early- its such a small venue the good seats sell out and scalpers are very expensive.
On the first Friday following Canada Day (July 1), starts the 10-day Calgary Stampede. This is a festival that fetes Calgary's early Western roots. Rodeos, parades and all sorts of events take place before guests from all over (some of whom are well-lubricated). The Stampede Grounds are located just to the southeast of downtown Calgary along a loop of the Elbow River. Just next door, you will find Calgary's NHL venue, the Saddledome. Here is where the Calgary Flames - and the more youthful WHL Calgary Hitmen - take to the ice against all comers. Because of the presence of so much business in Calgary, the Flames have managed to hold on and prosper (even with little scoring punch, they still have the stopping power of their Finnish goaltender, Miikka Kiprusoff) even when other Canadian cities - Winnipeg and Quebec - have lost their franchises to American cities to the south. The Flames almost joined the exodus a few years ago, but now seem happily ensconsed here along the Elbow. Calgarians are Flame-fanatics, though one does hear of a little disquiet brought about from newly arrived Calgarians who come from other areas of the country, bringing along allegiances to hockey teams from their native areas (a very similar problem faced by fans of teams in Southern California), whether it be the Maple Leafs of Toronto or even more dastardly, Oiler fans displaced from Edmonton to the north. "If they move here, then they should become Flames fans and check all of that other baggage at the door!" is an oft-hear refrain :-]
Calgary has more sports teams than Winnipeg. They still have the NHL Calgary Flames, one of the six best hockey teams in Canada!! (joke). In the 2003/4 season they came within one game of winning the Stanley Cup. I joined the 30% of Calgarian cars that were flying Flames flags, except I flew mine in Winnipeg.
They also have the CFL Calgary Stampeders, who for the past few years are the one team our Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been able to beat consistently. Perhaps in 2005 Calgary (and Winnipeg) will improve.
I read that in 2005, the Calgary Cannons baseball team will join the Northern League. Another rivalry will start between the Cannons and our Winnipeg Goldeyes.
While you are in Calgary, you might want to check out a hockey game. The Flames are hotter than fire right now, and the locals are more than pumped for them to play. Each time they play, especially during the playoffs, you will see people covered in red paint, jerseys, and even red kilts drumming and hollering soen the street until 3 in the morning...even when they lose!
Its something you have to see to believe!