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 Finland! We’ve compiled responses to our questionnaire below from three Flames fans from Finland, the first from Jyväskylä (we think), the second from Kokkola, and the third from Tampere. We received four total responses from fans in Finland. Enjoy!
How did you become a Flames fan?
My first skates were Calgary-branded, either the model or the manufacturer of the skates was labeled Calgary. I got them at the age of seven and since then I have been a Flames fan once I figured out as a kid that there is an NHL team named Calgary Flames.
Because of Kipper. I am from Finland and I was HUGE Kipper fan, so that is the reason. I am still HUGE Flames fan.
I started to cheer for the Flames during the 2004 playoffs when the Flames reached the Stanley Cup Finals. I noticed there some Finnish players like Miikka Kiprusoff, Ville Nieminen and Toni Lydman.
Tell us about your experience following the Flames from outside of Calgary.
Because Finland is a hockey country, it is super easy to follow the team and the games. The whole NHL is very popular in Finland.
Sometimes it is difficult because so many games come at nighttime in Finland. But still, I like to wake up early in the morning and start watching Flames hockey and drink coffee!
Finland has its own difficulties to cheer and follow NHL teams especially those teams where Finns don’t play. I mean, of course you can cheer them, but it may be hard to find much fan stuff from here. We have many Jets and Avalanche jerseys because of Patrik Laine and Mikko Rantanen but you have to be very lucky to find any Flames jerseys, not to mention other collections.
Do you watch games? If so, where do you typically watch and with whom?
Every single one. I watch the games at home via Finnish broadcast service Viaplay which owns the exclusive rights for NHL in Finland. Mostly I watch the games alone or sometimes with my friends if the opponent is interesting for them.
Typically I watch games at home. In Finland you can watch every single NHL game, so that is great!
In Finland, Viasat channel has the rights to display NHL games so I have watched games there. It’s quite challenging to watch every game due to time difference but I’ve been trying to watch a game from here to here and when I have missed it I may have watch the highlights from NHL.com.
What is the most popular sport where you live, and which teams? What challenges do you face following the Flames?
Hockey. The most popular teams come from Helsinki, IFK and Jokerit. The only challenge for me to follow the Flames is time difference, Flames home games begin typically at 5am. Luckily I can also watch the games afterwards in total length but if I don’t watch the games live, then the challenge is not to use any sources of media or basically everything where the game could be spoiled for me.
The most popular sport is hockey in Finland, but the most popular teams are maybe the Carolina Hurricanes or Winnipeg Jets. Most NHL fans just like Finnish players, but I am such a huge flames fan I don’t even care if there are Finns or not playing.
The most popular sport in Finland is definitely hockey. Kärpät Oulu and Tappara Tampere in the Finnish National League are the most successful teams in the past 10 years. Flames fans remember Theoren Fleury playing in Tappara during the NHL lockout season 1994-95.
Then we have the KHL team Jokerit Helsinki which is the most successful on an international level.
Every spring the Men’s World Championships are huge thing in here. Strangers gather together to cheer for Leijonat. If we make it to the quarters and semi finals, and further to the Gold medal game, we almost demand a holiday for the next day. Hockey has a unifying effect!
The challenge to follow the Flames may be the unavailability of NHL and Flames mobile app. That isn’t a big problem but it would be nice to get it.
What is the best experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?
2015 Playoffs, Game 6 against Vancouver and the goal of Matt Stajan.
Maybe in 2015, when Flames played against Canucks first playoff series, and they won. After the game, I went to the local marketplace and I was wearing Flames jersey, and cap and I was dancing and shouting alone!
I practice sports journalism and I have written for Finland’s largest hockey web magazine Jatkoaika. I remember interviewing former Flame Toni Lydman about Jarome Iginla’s career. I wrote an article about Iggy’s career highlights after he retired. That was awesome to get to do.
I need to bring up also a Facebook group called Calgary Flames Fans. There are Flames fans worldwide and it’s great to get to share experiences and thoughts with them. In addition, I’m pretty proud of my Flames collection.
What is the worst experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?
Although I was just eight years old in 2004 I remember those playoffs. The Stanley Cup finals loss in Game 7 against Tampa still haunts me (it was in). But now when the years have passed we can really be extremely proud of that team and what they accomplished during that season and playoffs.
When Kipper retired, it was sad moment. But I like that he wanted to end his career in Calgary.
Poor availability of Flames fan stuff. Maybe I need to start as a reseller!
Who is your favourite player and why?
Although I come from Finland this one is not so easy for me: Iggy and Kipper were my childhood favourite players and I feel so bad for both of them for not winning the cup in the 2004 Playoffs. But at the end I would have to say Kipper, here he is considered as one of the best Finnish goalies and hockey players ever. From the current roster my favourite is Chucky, the passion that he has for the team and the game is incredible. Another favourite from the current roster is Johnny, ever since his rookie year he has been one of my favourites. That goal against Anaheim in Game 3 of 2015 playoffs when he tied the game in the last minute was amazing.
Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk is just such a great player to watch! I like his style, and the grit and power. He know how to get under skin, and that is great to watch!
I have to say Miikka Kiprusoff. Definitely him. He was quite a person with all those scorpion saves and Cup run and so on. Yet he never cared about the publicity or media. The man, the myth, the legend I could say.
Any last thoughts you’d like to share?
C of Red for life. One day I will visit the Saddledome! (The latest news are suggesting that the Flames are not getting a new arena in a while so hopefully I have time). Go Flames go!
Flames needs an European fan club! It would be nice to meet more European Flames fans!
Thanks for this interview. I appreciate it. Go Flames Go!
Thanks to these three Flames fans for providing such great answers to our questionnaire. From what we’ve seen in our small sample size of survey responses, there definitely should be a European Flames fan club! It’s cool to see how having stars on your team from other countries really does get fans from those countries to become fans of your team.
With Miikka Kiprusoff being the best Flames goalie of all time, it’s easy to see why there are die hard Flames fans in Finland. Hopefully that community continues to grow with Juuso Välimäki set to take on a big role with the club, and Eetu Tuulola developing in the AHL.
Are you from Finland 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 friend from Sweden!