It’s make or die for the Calgary Flames, and fans are ready to mess around.
The Flames will face the Dallas Stars on Sunday after losing the potential series-clinching game in Texas 4-2 on Friday-evening. The disappointing result has fans on their toes, but they remain positive about the Flames pulling it off in Game 7.
Tatum Illes, marketing manager at Whiskey Rose Saloon on 17th Avenue, said the bar turned into a “full sea of red” Friday night.
The seats were packed with people lining the bar waiting to watch the game, cheering and high-fiveting each other. As the seconds ticked away, disappointed fans were shot in the arm with a last-minute brawl.
“People were really, really upset that they lost, and they were really excited and happy that there was a fight at the end,” Illes said, referring to the fight after Milan Lucic exchanged some punches with Esa Lindell of the Stars. ‘Do they know who Looch is? He is crazy.”
Despite the Game 6 loss, Illes said the energy in the bar was “electric” when Calgarians gathered to cheer on the Flames.
“It’s a team effort. People become superstitious, like, ‘Maybe I should put on my sweater backwards or change my shoes,’ she said with a laugh. “Everyone is so inviting and so excited to watch the game.”
When asked if she feels good about winning the Flames, Illes said: “100 percent they will.”
“I’m very excited. I know they can get their shit together.”
Ernie Tsu, owner of Trolley 5 Brewery on 17th Avenue, said the series has been a “big energy boost” to the city and businesses on the Red Mile.
“I was in the area for the 2004 Red Mile and the atmosphere last night was exactly the same. We were a full house here, people queuing outside on the street watching the TV. It’s a great time to watch hockey.”
Tsu said fans, including himself, are feeling nervous heading into Game 7. The Flames looked tired towards the end of the third period, but he said fans are hoping they can recover on Sunday.
“To allow Dallas to get through the neutral zone at that speed and no control was a bit strange. We certainly hope for a big, big upswing on Sunday,” he said.
“Everyone is nervous. But how could you not be nervous? It’s game 7!”
Win or lose, the Red Mile’s business boost was a welcome respite after two years of the pandemic, he said, expecting a packed house for Sunday’s game.
“It will be a great atmosphere tomorrow wherever you go,” he said. “Get your sweater and go outside.”