Back to hockey's roots
Steve Staios, Curtis Glencross and Cory Sarich share their excitement
It is now officially a day that every hockey fan in Calgary and every hockey fan in Canada can pencil in their calendars.
On February 20th, 2011, a Heritage Classic outdoor game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames will be played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. Following the official announcement of the Heritage Classic game on Wednesday, the jerseys that will be worn during the game were unveiled.
The Flames unveiled a unique historic jersey honouring the history of professional hockey in Calgary (inspired by the Calgary Tigers’ uniform).
|Cory Sarich, Steve Staios and Curtis Glencross in the classic jersey|
For most Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens players, this will mark their first outdoor experience. Calgary Flame Steve Staios however, will be taking part in his second Heritage Classic. Staios was part of the very first Heritage Classic on November 22, 2003 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. The game was played in Commonwealth Stadium, the home of the Edmonton Eskimos where the Oilers played host to the Montreal Canadiens.
"It's a memorable experience for us," said Staios. "It's my second chance at it, it could happen every year and it would still be great and still be fun for me. The event itself is a great chance for the fans in Calgary to come out and show the spirit of the game and get back to the roots."
Staios was the first Flame to sport the historic maroon and gold sweater for all eyes to see and thought quite highly of the retro-looking shirts.
"I think it's really cool," Staios said. "I didn't know anything about the Calgary Tigers before the announcement of this event but I'm learning about the great history of professional hockey. It's a great chance for us players to show our respect for those players who played in the past and to the history of the game and the history of the game in Calgary."
For Curtis Glencross, this event is all part of hockey. It reminds him of his family tradition of gathering every Christmas holidays and skating together on an outdoor rink on Christmas day.
"It's one tradition we've always done with our family and it'll be neat to actually play a game and do it as a job. It'll be different with the seats filled and the bare sky above you. I'm excited." said Glencross.
As for the new retro jerseys?
"They're awesome," Glencross said. "It brings back quite the heritage of Calgary. Its neat to have a jersey from back in the 1920's to go against the Montreal Canadiens who have been around for a long time. It will be nice to bring the heritage back through Calgary and share it with people around the world."
Defenceman Cory Sarich used the word "awesome" in a sentence more than once to describe his excitement of the coming event.
"I think it's unbelievable," said Sarich. "You watch the games and get an appreciation for how cool they are on TV but being there is going to be incredible. Just standing here on the field, I've seen a few (Saskatchewan) Riders games and a Stampeders games here but to take part in a hockey game will be awesome."
Sarich will be one of eight defensemen currently on the Flames roster which means there will be some heavy competition come camp time with only so many spots for next season and so many spots to dress in this outdoor experience.
"There is always that added pressure," said Sarich. "It's something to feed off of and something to get ready for. It's nice to see the guys we have on board and I think we're going to have a strong talent level no matter who we go with."
Outdoor hockey is the gateway for millions of people around the globe. To play in a Heritage Classic or Winter Classic game is a special opportunity for all players and fans who take part.
“It’s a chance for everybody to get back to the history of the game. It’s a great opportunity for the fans of Calgary to have some fun and enjoy the game.” said Staios.