Whiteout in Cowtown? Flames fans resort to cheering for Yotes

Is it just me or are there a lot of people in Calgary cheering for the Phoenix Coyotes?

Case in point, I was out on Friday night at a bar on 17th avenue grabbing a couple of beverages after the Hitmen game, while catching glimpses of the Yotes Wings game on the screen behind me. And to my amazement, and less than the time it took for me to order a beer an enormous cheer was let out in the bar as if the Flames had just been allowed back into the playoffs on account of good behaviour.

Unfortunately this pipe dream was not the case, but instead it was a goal by Coyote Captain Shane Doan that set the place a blaze. Ok, so maybe I over exaggerated the level of cheer, but it was a definitely loud enough to cause a stir in the bar. A courtesy check to see what was going on in Phoenix was made by numerous beer-filled customers.

There was no ‘White Out’ in the bar, but something tells me if the Desert Dogs manage to get by the Wings, this cactus fuelled bandwagon will have a lot more patrons aboard come the second round.

The connection between Calgary and Phoenix has its obvious similarities.

First off, many Calgary citizens jet off down to the desert to escape the sub-zero temperatures of the winter months. Much like easterners flock to places like Florida, westerners often travel into Arizona or Southern California to rid themselves of touching that fluffy white stuff. While down there, many people I know have enjoyed a rousing Coyote hockey game given the ease it takes to acquire tickets along with the Canadian ‘hockey fix’ that is needed bi-weekly.

Secondly, the Flames and the Coyotes have been involved in numerous trades over the last number of years. Not only trades, but Flames players that have become UFA’s and have chosen Phoenix as there docking point; case in point Adrian Aucoin, better known as the ‘Eliminator.’

Phoenix is also the home for Jim Vandemeer, traded for Brandon Prust last summer, and Matthew Lombardi, traded with Brandon Prust at last years trade deadline for Olli Jokinen. Ironically enough Brandon Prust resides in New York now after being traded with the aforementioned Jokinen at this year’s trade deadline.

In 2006, the Flames dealt Steven Reinprecht and disgruntled goaltender Phillip Sauve to Phoenix for Brian Boucher and Mike Leclerc. Boucher is currently backstopping the Flyers while Leclerc is waiting tables at your local Swiss Chalet.

The FAN960, Calgary’s all sports radio network, even gave a trip away to Phoenix including tickets to Games 1 and 2, hotel room, a round of golf and $500 spending cash to one lucky listener. They also broadcast the Coyotes games on air if there is not a Hitmen game going on.

My point is that Flames fans need someone to cheer for in this first hockeyless spring in seven years and Phoenix is simply the feel good story of the year. Coupled with the connection to the city Calgarians feel, it is the perfect match for a ‘sudo home team’ while our own home team figures out what went wrong over the coming months.

I, personally, must admit that I have a small place in my heart for the Yotes and will be cheering them on as they make their improbable run towards Lord Stanley.

Anything is better than having to cheer for the Canucks.

And as for the guy that will respond to this saying that Vancouver is Canadian and we should support the ‘Canadian’ teams, give your head a shake.

A Yankee fan wouldn’t be caught dead cheering for the Sox, nor would a Cowboy fan be caught wearing a Giants or Eagles jersey, so a true Flames fan should definitely not be caught yelling ‘Luuuuuuuu’ when Roberto touches the puck, unless of course it was a situation like tonight where he traded in his mask for a ball cap midway through the game.

Then, and only then, may you scream ‘Luuuuuu’ at the top of your lungs.

This has been,

Newman on the Coyotes/Flames

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