3 More Potential Calgary Flames Outdoor Match-Ups We’d Like To See
The National Hockey League’s outdoor games are here to stay, and with good reason. They may not be the must-see TV events they were 10 years ago, but they still generate plenty of local excitement (and, most importantly, revenue).
The Calgary Flames have already played two outdoor games and are scheduled to play another next October when they visit the Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth Stadium. It will be the first time the Battle of Alberta will be held outdoors (and you can expect the Flames to wear cream jerseys in this game).
We first saw the Flames take on the Montreal Canadiens at McMahon Stadium on an outdoor rink in 2011 and ultimately win 4-0, thanks in large part to a two-goal performance by Rene Bourque was. Then, in the 2019 Heritage Classic in Regina, the Flames fell 2-1 to the Winnipeg Jets in overtime at Mosaic Stadium.
It won’t be long before all 32 NHL franchises have attended an outdoor game. The Seattle Kraken will play first next year when they host the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2024 Winter Classic, leaving only the Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers without outdoor appearances.
Although they may have to wait a little longer this time, the Flames will undoubtedly continue to participate in outdoor games beyond the upcoming Heritage Classic. They are a stable Canadian franchise with some marketable stars and a solid balance sheet. Don’t be surprised if we see her in another Heritage Classic before the decade ends.
Here are a few fun pairings we’d like to see if the Flames get another chance to play away.
This just sounds obvious right? With a Flames/Jets game already in the books and a Battle of Alberta looming, the Vancouver Canucks are the only western Canadian rival still facing the Flames on the road.
The Flames and Canucks have a long history as wild counterparts. They met seven times in the playoffs, with the Flames winning five times in the series (yes, they are one of the few teams the Flames actually have a record against in the playoffs). Three of those series went into Game 7, with the winning goal each time coming in overtime. You probably don’t even need to see the highlights to remember these goals. The names “Joel Otto”, “Pavel Bure” and “Martin Gelinas” remain inextricably linked with these OT winners.
Recently, the Flames and the Canucks met in the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That streak almost went the distance, and Calgary eventually won it after a back-and-forth Game 6 in which they erased deficits of 3-0 and 4-3 to go 7-4.
If it took place today, this matchup would also have the added appeal of having many players with ties to both teams. Former Canucks players Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev all now play for the Flames, as well as former Vancouver Giants star Milan Lucic; The Canucks current roster consists of former Flames center Curtis Lazar (along with potential future Flames Brock Boeser and Luke Schenn).
The Canucks are about to attend an outdoor game, having attended just one so far: the 2014 Heritage Classic against the Ottawa Senators at BC Place Stadium. This game was played under a closed roof due to bad weather in Vancouver (surprise, surprise); the Canucks lost 4-2.
We certainly don’t need to bring back the curse of the Honda Center, which has lasted for more than a decade and has continually disappointed Flames fans and players alike. That period of futility ended mercifully in 2018 with Mike Smith’s birthday.
Like Vancouver, Anaheim is set for another outdoor gig. The Ducks beat the LA Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium as part of the 2014 Stadium Series but haven’t played on the road since. The Flames, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights would all be natural opponents for the Ducks.
In a way, the NHL’s outdoor games are all about marketing. Trevor Zegras is every trader’s dream. He is a young and experienced player who loves the cameras and scores a lot of points. is on the cover of NHL23, for heaven’s sake. The Ducks may not be good right now — in fact, they’re downright awful — but Zegras, Mason McTavish and company are made for an outdoor game.
Of course, the Flames and the Ducks also met several times in the playoffs. Calgary has never beaten Anaheim in a playoff series, having come closest in the first round in 2006 (in which they blew a 3-2 lead to lose Game 7 on home ice). Most recently, the Ducks swept the Flames in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where a new generation of Calgary hockey fans learned which swear words were best suited to “Ryan Kesler. “
Calgary doesn’t have as much playoff history against Colorado as they do against the other two teams on this list, but there’s still plenty of reason to think this could be a pretty good road matchup.
The Flames and Avalanche have been Northwest Division rivals for 15 years and two of only four NHL teams in the Mountain Time Zone. Calgary and Denver are both major North American ski towns located just a stone’s throw from the Rocky Mountains and at very high elevations.
The Avs previously played in three outdoor games, most recently defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in front of no fans in the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe series during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. They also took on the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings away.
While the Avalanche could be a good outdoor opponent for the Flames, it stands to reason that Colorado must first play against more recent rivals like the St. Louis Blues. Louis and Minnesota Wild before they start looking at teams north of the border. But the Flames and Avalanche have always been fun games in the end, and the 2019 playoff series between the two teams is fresh in the memory of almost every hockey fan in Calgary.