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 Germany! We’ve compiled responses to our questionnaire below from two Flames fans, the first from Aachen and the second from Hamburg. Enjoy!
How did you become a Flames fan?
I played NHL on Super Nintendo and didn’t know which team to choose. I was also a huge Brett Hitman Hart Fan so I took the Flames. Then it was so much fun to play with Theoren Fleury, that from this moment the Flames became my favourite team.
During the 2004 cup run. In that time, there was barely any coverage of NHL Games in Germany. On TV there was a weekly format “NHL Power Week” on Deutsches Sport Fernsehen, and also the weekly published “Eishockey News” magazine. Thanks to those two media outlets I was able to follow the finals as closely as possible.
Tell us about your experience following the Flames from outside of Calgary.
It’s a special thing. The German Hockey League has the second highest average attendance from all German Sports Leagues. But the NHL is not as popular in Germany as the NFL. So most of the people don’t really care about the NHL. It was hard to follow the news around the Flames before the Internet. Since a couple years, especially since Leon Draisaitl became a star, unfortunately for the wrong team, the interest become bigger and bigger. Some NHL games are broadcasted in the Free TV and it’s easier to follow the Flames.
I started to follow them frequently during my final years in college, and didn’t miss a game since. To get an even closer “relation” to the Flames, I started to share my thoughts on the games, and so I started running the (unofficial) German speaking Flames fan page on Facebook, with a small but loyal audience. (Flames Fans Germany / Deutschland)
Do you watch games? If so, where do you typically watch and with whom?
Due to the time difference it’s hard to watch the live games. Sometimes if I wake up in the night I watch a bit of the Flames games via NHL TV. I also try to come to North America at lease once per year to see some Flames games live in the arena. At the moment I have visited 20 different NHL arenas.
NHL TV subscription. I watch games at home all alone, regular home games start at 3 am. German time.
What is the most popular sport where you live, and which teams? What challenges do you face following the Flames?
Its definitely soccer. Behind soccer its hockey, handball and basketball. In soccer my favourite team is Schalke, but the most famous team is Bayern. In German hockey my favourite team is Cologne Sharks. Last season former Iginla trade asset Ben Hanowski played for my team.
Soccer, and Bayern Munich. Biggest challenge is the time difference. Like I said, the 7pm home games start at 3am here in Germany, so especially during the week, it’s sometimes tough.
What is the best experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?
Best experience was my first game in the Saddledome on November 17th against the Devils. In this day a children’s dream came true. Other great memories I have are the win in Toronto on October 18th and the Heritage Classic in Regina last year. Also a cool thing was when I met Matt Stajan in a train station in Düsseldorf, Germany. He was totally surprised that someone in Germany recognized him. I asked him for a selfie and he agreed.
As stupid as it may sound, but the interaction with Flames fans via social media is awesome. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch a game live yet, but hopefully this changes in the near future.
What is the worst experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?
Maybe the playoff loss in Game 5 last year on my birthday.
Overtime games in California (normally starts at 4am or 4:30am and ends at 7am).
Who is your favourite player and why?
Matthew Tkachuk, he is a pest with high hockey skills. I like that.
Huge fan of Sam Bennett. Even if he didn’t turned out as we were all hoping, I like his attitude, his grid and of course the stache.
Any last thoughts you’d like to share?
Go Flames Go
Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts. Keep the good work running.
Thanks to these two Flames fans for providing such great answers to our questionnaire. Germany is a bigger hockey country than most of us realize, second to soccer in terms of popularity. It’s also cool having a German player on the Flames roster right now, Tobias Rieder, and German superstar Leon Draisaitl just up the road in Edmonton.
Are you from Germany and follow the Flames? Join the Flames Fans Germany / Deutschland Facebook page, and tell us about your experiences being a fan in the comments or on social media.
Stay tuned for the next Global Flames Fan Series article featuring our friends from the other European countries: the Czech Republic, Netherlands, and Switzerland!