Mess on the Ice, Torn Loyalty, The Battle of Alberta Justice


On the road between Calgary and Edmonton and Alberta — White sedans roll down the quiet streets of Gasoline Alley, a small town off Interstate 2, where two flags flutter in the Saturday breeze. One for the Edmonton Oilers hockey club and another for the sport’s fiercest rivals, the Calgary Flames, fluttering and waving from the window of the same car.

Red Deer is a geographical midpoint between Alberta’s two major cities (Edmonton in the north and Calgary in the south), and the loyalty can be divided into “about 52-48 for Euler” as calculated by the servers at the local Tim Hortons donut shop. For some families and cars it may be 50-50 or more.

Structural engineer Carl Dies, who grew up passionately cheering for Euler in northern Alberta, was not surprised to hear of a car whose loyalty was torn as he took a break at the Gasoline Alley indoor climbing facility.

“I call the Red Deer a fence,” he said. “When the fireworks are good, it’s all red here. A good Euler would be blue and orange.”

Now both are good and the color is getting hot again, white. For the first time in 31 years, the Battle of Alberta is back in the Stanley Cup playoffs and local foes are swarming in a round two encounter. And the rich goalscoring that defined hockey in the 1980s was when the Flames and Oilers played four postseason series.

“The intensity is high enough,” said Hall of Fame winger Lanny McDonald, who grew up on a farm in Hannah, Alberta, east of Calgary and played eight seasons with the Flames. “Sports, politics, culture, South and North Korea, which one is better is something to be proud of. We always think the south is better.”

The two cities are battling for a better team, tastier steaks, hip restaurant lines, and even a great library. The meter now leans slightly towards Edmonton after the Oilers comfortably won Game 3 on Sunday, leading the series 2-1.

After the game, Oilers fans chanted “We want the Cup” on Edmonton Street, while some climbed over a statue of Wayne Gretzky, waving flags and honking the horn for over an hour. I played only the 3rd round of the 2nd round. This is the Battle of Alberta.

For decades before the Flames and Oilers even existed, Alberta sporting events were played through clubs and sub-pro hockey teams, local rodeos, and the Canadian Football League.

But it’s the Stanley Cup playoffs, and here’s the $5 bill with kids playing pond hockey, and it’s Canada where the Battle of Alberta marked the 80s with thrilling games and exciting punch-ups.

“There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears in that competition on the ice,” said Wayne Gretzky, a member of the Dominating Oilers from 1979 to 1988 and Hall of Fame forward from 1979 to 1988. It was just a tremendous desire to win. .From both sides.”

Gretzky led the Oilers to four Stanley Cups in the 1980s, winning almost satisfactorily in three playoff series against the Flames since 1983. Edmonton Oilers, originally a member of the World Hockey Association, joined the NHL in 1979.

They also used the name Alberta Oilers during the 1972-73 season, but before the NHL came to Calgary. It stayed on when the Flames moved from Atlanta there in 1980.

The competition was fierce enough in the regular season, but when the teams met in the playoff game, it became intense, captivating, and sometimes brutal. Even superstars like Gretzky should have been more aware that elbows and hips could get in the way.

“It’s a big part of that and you knew it was coming,” Gretzky said in a phone interview. “It’s a battle, it’s a war, but there’s a lot of respect for both sides.”

Gretzky scored 19 goals and assisted 27 goals in 23 playoff games against the Flames. McDonald’s scored 10 points with 13 assists. The two teams met four times in the playoffs between 1983 and 1988 and again in 1991. Calgary’s only victory was in 1986. 8 consecutive seasons By 1990, one of the two teams had reached the Stanley Cup final, and Calgary finally won it in 1989.

Both teams were so good at their time that they would have to travel to Alberta to win the Stanley Cup. McDonald’s said that if he played a random team at the time and saw one of those players in the hall of the stadium, he would smile and say hello and probably chat.

“But when we passed Euler in the hallway, we didn’t even look at him,” he said. “No, don’t do that. We will see eye to eye on the ice.”

Talking over the phone from Tampere, Finland, while watching the men’s World Championships, McDonald’s recalled the 5-5 fight twice. One was paired with Edmonton center Keith Acton, who was 5 feet 8 inches and 170 pounds tall. On the other hand, he got entangled with bruised Marty McSorley.

McDonald’s said with a smile, “I liked Acton’s in.” “But you accepted the challenge and couldn’t wait to play.”

The game of hockey is a reflection of what it was like in the 1980s. As competition has rekindled in recent years, there have been several dreadful fights between the two teams in the regular season. Matthew Tkachuk from The Flames and Zack Kassian from Edmontonand outdated Goalkeeper fight between Cam Talbot and Mike Smith2020.

So it’s no surprise that when the puck was dropped in Game 1, there was a corresponding surge in checking, elbowing, and chirps. In Game 1, Tkachuk mocked Edmonton’s Evander Kane for filing for personal bankruptcy. After the battle, Kane rubbed his gloved fingers and asked if Kane needed the money. Kane responded with a hat-trick in Game 3.

The penalty box was sometimes overcrowded and Calgary winger Milan Lucic set the tone for the first leg by equalizing Edmonton superstar Conor McDavid. In the third game, Lucic was given a 15-minute penalty, including game cheating, for pushing Smith to the board. This is also the Battle of Alberta.

With each hit, each shot, and every extra effort to push the puck off the defensive end, both pitches pulsated under the noise, but Edmonton’s seemed more roaring.

“The building was pretty noisy tonight,” Oilers manager Jay Woodcroft said after Game 3 ended.

Home to some of the most northerly sports teams in the Americas, the sparkling Rogers Place is 186 miles north of Calgary’s old Saddle Dome, while Red Deer is about 90 miles each. Yet, loyalty is torn everywhere in Alberta, known for its glacial lakes and oil-producing Rockies, gentle grasslands and cattle ranches, and sometimes even within families.

For Game 1, Riaz Hamir, like her 12-year-old daughter Laila, wore a vivid blue and orange oiler’s jersey with a saddle dome. But his wife Shafali and their 15-year-old son Junyard both wore Calgary Reds. divided house.

“There’s a lot of good trash talk at breakfast time,” said Shafali Hamir, who danced to her husband sitting behind the glass when Calgary scored an important goal in the first leg 9-6.

Before two games in Calgary, thousands of fans in Flames jerseys marched along the so-called Red Mile on 17th Street, turning the boulevard into the Red Sea on game day. However, there were plenty of blue jerseys to see in town with the Oilers, and many groups included fans from both teams, chatting amicably on their way to Saddledome.

On the afternoon of Game 1, Eric Eyolfson, who received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience, went with his best friend Grayson Magnus, a real estate agent and Oilers fan. They sat in one corner of the Saddledome in different uniforms, poking each other’s needles, but there was no grudge.

“Well, Canada.” Gretzky said. But it divides the home and the family. Not the Islanders-Rangers or Montreal-Toronto. It has its own taste,” he said.

McDonald’s, who recalled that the atmosphere of the 1980s was far more menacing than it is now, was at Saddledome for the first leg. He wants to return to Calgary for Game 5 but he can’t believe it after years of wrestling. Alongside Gretzky, his Flames now have to compete against another superstar of McDavid’s superlative Oilers Superstar, who appears to be possessed by the magical touch of Gretzky or Mario Lemieux.

Edmonton forward Zach Hyman said: “He is pushing his limits. “It’s clear he’s the best player in the world.”

McDavid has scored nine points (two goals and seven assists) in his first three games so far in the playoffs and has a total of 23 points in the playoffs. engrave abstract patterns Across the ice while the Calgary defenders try to catch him. He was energized by his first foray into the historic local struggle.

“The way this player is playing now is special,” Woodcroft said. “He leads our team forward.”

The current Flame is struggling to find a way to stop McDavid and his teammates, just like the old Flame did to Gretzky and his teammates. And to capture every lively moment, the game was shown on a large video screen at the Red Deer’s Centrium arena, played by the main junior team, the Rebels. A ticket seller who says company rules don’t allow giving names is truly Red Deer neutral.

“People all ask which side I am on,” she said. “I always tell them, ‘I support Alberta.’”

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