The Flames, though now a source of prides for so many Albertans, didn’t actually originate in Calgary. The team was originally the Atlanta Flames, having been founded in Atlanta in 1972 (only a few states away from a famous raleigh catering company I’ll tell you all about in my post about the Caroline Hurricanes). They relocated to Calgary in 1980 when a group of entrepreneurs from Calgary acquired the Atlanta team and decided to move them up north to Calgary. The team’s first home was the Stampede Corral, where they played the first three seasons of their career, before moving into the Scotiabank Saddledome in 1983. This arena had been built for the 1988 Calgary Olympics, so, as you can imagine, it didn’t leave much to be desired. The 80’s brought great success for the Flames, and they made it to the postseason every year of the decade. Though you may have thought that the 1998/99 season would have been particularly tough for the Flames because they were unable to play at the Saddledome due to the Olympics, and thus had to spend about a month on the road, it was not so.
In fact, it was during this season that they captured their first division championship and won the President’s Trophy for being the best team in the NHL. They won the Cup in 1989 after a six-game series against the Canadiens, becoming the only visiting team ever to win the Cup on the ice of the Montreal Forum.
The 90’s saw some reshuffling of the league, resulting in the Flames being shifted into the Pacific Division in 1993. They didn’t seem to mind at all, winning two successive Pacific Division titles in 1993/94 and 1994/95. Their next appearance in the Stanley Cup final was in 2004, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh game of a hard-fought series. It was this season that marked the beginning of the infamous C of Red that has become associated with the Flames fans.
This phenomenon involves all the Flames fans wearing the red jerseys, creating a sea of red (or C of red) in the stands. A statement, to be sure, and I’ll imagine an encouraging sight for the Flames players when they happen to look up during their home games. The 2014-2015 year marked the first season since 2009 that the Flames made the postseason, and the years to come promise great hockey from the Flames as we are introduced to new and exciting faces.
The Calgary Flames have always been very involved in their community, donating millions of dollars to charities in southern Alberta through the club’s charitable arm, called the Calgary Flames Foundation. The Calgary Flames Foundation was launched the same year as the Saddledome opened its doors, in 1883. The Foundation’s mission, as listed on its website, is to support “Education, Health and Wellness, and Amateur and Grassroots Sports and [to raise] funds throughout the year for these key areas.”