BLOG: CalgaryFlames.com's take on the 2013 flood

One year later, CalgaryFlames.com looks back on the 2013 flood

Friday, 20.06.2014 / 9:00 AM / News
By Torie Peterson  - CalgaryFlames.com (@toriepeterson)
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BLOG: CalgaryFlames.com\'s take on the 2013 flood
One year later, CalgaryFlames.com looks back on the 2013 flood

Saying it rained a lot last June would be an understatement.

It poured and poured and poured. And then it poured some more.

At one point, security manager Bob Godun sent out a company-wide email warning us of a thunderstorm rolling through the city and jokingly mentioned he was building an ark for us.

On June 20, when we were told the building was being evacuated, some of us blindly assumed we would be back in the next day or the following Monday. That leaving the building was simply a precautionary measure, nothing more.

I don't think any of us ever imagined that by June 21, the entire event level of the Saddledome would be flooded. That water would reach row nine in the lower bowl.

And what happened to the 'Dome pales in comparison to what the city and province endured. What High River, Canmore, Banff, Siksika First Nation, and a plethora of other southern Alberta communities suffered through.

Our building, our office space was compromised. While it obviously holds great value to the city and the people who work there, it is just a building at the end of the day.

Even now, a year later, the destruction around the province seems incomprehensible. It doesn't seem like that could actually happen, that water could cause such catastrophic damage.

But in spite of that destruction, I've never been prouder to be a Calgarian or to be part of such an incredible group that is the Calgary Flames than during the summer of 2013.

The sense of community we gained from the flood is absolutely incredible. Like many others have said, the one memory that stands out for me last summer was how everyone came together to help their neighbors.

We Are Calgary, indeed.

THE WEB TEAM'S VIEW

When the flood struck, we were ham-stringed by having our email temporarily go down at one point. Thankfully, it was back up quickly but we used social media and our website to keep the public up to speed and to connect with staff.

It wasn’t just trying to help out with the distribution of information amongst staff members and helping disseminate news to media outlets. The NHL Draft was just over a week away and we were set to leave for New Jersey in less than a week.

Most of us had left things in the office when the evacuation notice was issued. When it became abundantly clear the building wouldn't be opened in the immediate future, we shifted gears.

I started to compile a list of what people absolutely needed to bring so I could gather everything up during the very limited window of time we had access to the offices. We coordinated a time to get photos of the ‘Dome. We altered content plans on all of our platforms to accommodate daily flood updates.

Another issue was what to do about video. The entire production room was underwater. Cameras needed to be rented, laptops needed to be loaded with basic editing programs and fonts, lighting needed to be sorted.

On top of everything else, we had members of our team who were evacuated and had zero access to their homes before we were set to depart for the draft. Others had evacuees staying with us.

When everything was laid out in front of us, it was a tad overwhelming.

But dealing with a seemingly endless list of problems in such a short period of time pulls people together. Like the entire rebuilding process of the event level, we were hyper-focused throughout the summer on specific points.

Locate resources for the draft.

Make it through the one-day draft with rented or new equipment.

Modify free agency day plans and get everything set up in a temporary office in McMahon Stadium.

Figure out what resources we needed for development camp.

Like the rest of the city, those kind of touch points kept momentum going.

And when the Flames hit the ice for their first pre-season game of the year and the home opener, there aren't enough words to describe the elation the entire organization felt. To see the result of such an incredible rebuilding process left us speechless.

So, to every single person who played a part in the reconstruction of the Saddledome, we want to thank you for everything you did to get the building back and up and running.

As Bob Godun stated in Back In The Saddle: Face-Off With The Flood, you brought our home back.