Calgary Flames

Global Flames Fan Series – Scotland

Earlier in June, we asked for Flames fans from around the world to tell us about their experiences cheering for the team from outside of Calgary. We did not expect to receive so many amazing replies from great fans all around the world.

So far, we’ve heard from fans spanning 102 cities and towns, 23 countries, and six continents. We’ve covered eight provinces and territories in Canada, and 19 states in the United States. The Flames community truly does cover the entire planet, and we’re lucky and proud to be part of that community. If you missed our post on the overall results and a coverage map, check it out here!

Full Global Flames Fan Series: Australia, England, Scotland, Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Switzerland, Morocco, Tunisia, Tajikistan, Brazil, China, the United States, and Canada outside of Calgary.

Next up in our Global Flames Fan Series is a collection of experiences from our friends in Scotland! We’ve compiled responses to our questionnaire below from three Flames fans living in Scotland, the first two from Edinburgh and the third from Gourock, a small town west of Glasgow. We also received responses from fans in Dunfermline, and Aviemore. Enjoy!

How did you become a Flames fan?

I had always picked the Flames when playing NHL Hitz on the GameCube with a buddy of mine but I never really followed hockey at that point, it was just a team I always picked when we played the game. It was when I first saw the Peterborough Phantoms play in the NIHL where I had actually fallen in love with the game. I began following the Flames closely around 2016, so I would consider myself a relatively new fan! First season following them I bought my Gaudreau jersey!

It was 2004 and my friends and I were watching the Stanley Cup finals against the Lightning and because Calgary were from Canada I decided I wanted them to win instead of Tampa and I have been a fan ever since.

In 1994 I was visiting Canada as part of my job. I noticed one of the guys had a thermal mug with a cool logo on it. It grabbed my attention and we got into a conversation about it. Ice hockey was very much a fringe sport in the UK back then. So it goes to show, corporate branding really works. After getting home I did some old school research. It was the dark days before the Internet so involved trips to the library. I found out a lot more about the team and, at that time, their fairly recent success. I have been hooked ever since.

Tell us about your experience following the Flames from outside of Calgary.

It can be pretty isolating in terms of being around other hockey fans in the UK, even with the leagues such as the EIHL and NIHL around, it’s still not a big sport, so finding another Flames fan in person is nigh on impossible. I have tried converting friends into hockey fans however they prefer football, which is a total sin.

It’s usually just me and my dog enjoying the Flames!

It’s been fun. I am a passionate flames fan even though they can break my heart now and then. I won’t give up on them because I’ve taken them to heart.

Since the Internet has come along it has made following the team so much easier. There is so much information out there now that following is never really a problem. Back in the day I had to read broadsheet newspaper sports sections to find out the scores.

Do you watch games? If so, where do you typically watch and with whom?

I watch nearly every single game every season via a stream online, whether it means I have to book time off work or just go in the next day whilst doing my best to remain awake!
I usually watch the games with my dog Ava, who also has her own jersey!

Most games I tend to log onto Facebook and chat to a load of amazing people in the Calgary Flames Fan page on Facebook, when the Flames play Oilers, I chat to my uncle Brian who lives in Calgary, however he is an Oilers fan, the only downside to a truly great man!

I have made the trip to Calgary though! So I was lucky enough to catch 2 games, one against Arizona Coyotes and another against the New Jersey Devils, both were fantastic games and watching them with family I had no seen in very long time made it so much better! The best game was definitely against Arizona Coyotes, not only were the Flames lagging behind the Coyotes to then decimate them in the third, Flames signature move, I also got a callout and my name put on the energy board which was so surreal. That, I have to thank the Calgary Flames Fan page on Facebook for, it was amazing to see!

I try and watch the games but with the time difference here in the UK it is tough. I watch on BT Sport or ESPN when they do have a game (rare as that is) I’m usually by myself as I don’t think there is a big Flames community in the UK.

Due to the 7 hour time difference most home games don’t start until 2am. If I’m lucky it will be an East Coast matinée! We had one of those in Carolina recently. It was strange watching hockey at a sensible time. I used to subscribe to NHL TV but there were so many black outs that hardly any games were shown. As a result I found ‘other’ means to watch the games live. I generally watch them as they are on. If I do miss one the first thing I do when I wake up is fire up the hidden score extended highlights.

What is the most popular sport where you live, and which teams? What challenges do you face following the Flames?

The most popular sport in the UK is football, or soccer as you guys know it! I am not even remotely interested in at all though. I know a few teams in the Premier League but I find football very boring.

I would say the challenges I face following the Flames are only really the time zones, most games usually start at any time between 7pm and 6am. 7pm is if I’m super lucky and it’s a very early game, though most always start after midnight. Stanley Cup games always seem to be from 6am onward which can be a total killer for work. I have hidden my phone in the stockroom and watched a few games when I needed to but it was necessary so it was fine! Right?!

It’s football here in the UK for sure, I’m a Glasgow Rangers fan. Time difference is the biggest challenge and that flames game are not on the TV here often.

Football is by far and away the most popular sport in Scotland. The most popular teams are Glasgow Rangers, Glasgow Celtic, Hearts, Hibernians and Aberdeen. Rugby is possibly second.

The problems I face are many. The time difference, finding a suitable broadcast or stream and of course the geographical distance.

What is the best experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?

The best experience? Honestly, it might have to be when I was at IKEA wearing my Flames jersey and another guy came out of IKEA and started talking to me, he had said he thought he might be the only Flames fan in Edinburgh! Was pretty cool even though it was super brief.

My closest friends are all hockey fans and we’ve watched games together sometimes when we’ve had the chance so that’s probably been my best experience.

In 1999 I was lucky enough to get a 2 year secondment to Calgary. During my first game that year I was luckily and randomly selected to answer a spot question. It was to identify a member of the organisation and it was Bearcat. Luckily the guy next to me said it loud enough for me to hear. I wasn’t really aware of how much of a star he was! I am now fully aware of his lore.

For the past few years I have been fortunate enough to get to a few more games. Typically I go to NYC where, if the moons align, I can get to see the team at NYR, NYI & NJD. If this road trip doesn’t happen I usually come to Cowtown. I’ll always try and get a 4 game homestand to maximize the trip.

In NYC a couple of years back I managed to see the team train in Central Park and managed to meet a few of the them too. It was a great experience. One that I will always treasure. Years ago I also met Cale Hulse in a pub in town.

Covid totally smashed my NYC plans this year. The season cancelled a week before I was due to travel. The thing that stings about that is the fact that I had row 1 tickets for our end vs the Devils. Gutted is an understatement.

What is the worst experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?

I guess the only negative thing about being a Flames fan is the lack of anything to do with the Flames in the UK, it’s incredibly rare to find anything to do with hockey in general. Otherwise I haven’t really had a worst experience to be totally honest!

When I’ve been awake to 7am watching games and we’ve lost.

Being sat on my own watching the 2004 SCF on terrestrial TV. Luckily one of the channels carried hockey back then. First time I ever shed a tear for a professional sports team. IT WAS IN! I also missed out on the original C of Red.

Who is your favourite player and why?

I couldn’t possibly pick one player. It’s just not possible. I like Gaudreau because of his skating, it’s just incredible to watch how he dances about the ice leaving everyone confused as to what just happened; Rittich because of his emotion, he’s a fantastic player to watch and a great tendie, a very funny guy too; Tkachuk because of the between the legs shots and how he is ALWAYS the one to start winding people up.

I also like Marc-Andre Fleury, he just seems like such a funny guy. I have watched plenty of YouTube videos of his escapades, playing pranks on his teammates and they are always so funny!

Jarome Iginla is my favourite player. Seeing him play is another reason I became a Flames fan, he was so good and such an amazing captain.

Iggy, hands down. He was prolific all through my time following the team. He was the franchise, like part of the Saddledome infrastructure.

Any last thoughts you’d like to share?

Calgary was without a doubt the most beautiful city I have ever been and I would like to thank everyone for being so friendly and welcoming, you guys are awesome!

I would also like to thank my uncle Brian and his better half Sue for allowing me to stay in their home whilst in Calgary. It was so good to finally see you both and without a doubt It was an experience I will never forget!

Go Flames, Go!

Go Flames Go!

I randomly found the Stanley cup in the Downtown Sandman Hotel round about 2000. Got a great picture that is up on the wall.

Thanks to these three Flames fans for providing such great answers to our questionnaire. What wholesome stories! There were several other fans from Scotland as well; there is definitely more than one Flames fan in Edinburgh!

It’s amazing to see so many interesting stories from all over the world. Following the Flames because someone had a cool mug, or the they just happened to be your team on NHL Hitz is so cool, and goes to show that sports can bring people together in the most unexpected ways.

Are you from Scotland and follow the Flames? Tell us about your experiences being a fan in the comments or on social media.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another Global Flames Fan Series article featuring our friends from Finalnd!

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