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 are responses from Flames fans elsewhere in the Europe. The first is from the Czech Republic, the second from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and the third from Switzerland. Enjoy!
How did you become a Flames fan?
Started playing a PC game NHL09 and chose Calgary Flames as my team because I liked the flaming C as logo, and realized there was my favorite goalie – Miikka Kiprusoff. After a few months, the NHL fever started in group of me and my friends. I googled players playing for Flames, watched some videos of them playing, and also watched videos with pre game/ post game interviews, and really fell in love with the whole team. Soon I started watching their games during night and became a Calgary Flames specialist!
I was born in Calgary into a Habs family, so I was always a bit divided. The 2004 playoff run converted me.
I like hockey and when I started following the NHL, it was clear for me my support will go to a Canadian team. I liked what I saw from the area around Calgary when they host the Olympic games in 1988 and finally it was the shirt with the horse that let me stay with the Flames.
Tell us about your experience following the Flames from outside of Calgary.
Sometimes it’s really difficult to watch live Flames games during the night. It usually starts at 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. so I have to set alarm and really convince myself to get up. On the other hand, Flames have really good social media with loads of information for followers, and I really like videos from inside of organization, interviews with players, staff, etc.
Amsterdam has a single indoor ice rink (with no ice four months a year) and the average Dutch person would tell you that hockey is played on a field, which should give you a good idea of the state of ice hockey in the Netherlands. Ice hockey fans here are often expats or immigrants like myself, and many of the fans here tend to cheer for players they like (or of their nationality) more than any given team.
It’s like wake up and read the newspaper. The only difference… the newspaper are all the websites with news around the Flames. Also the Facebook groups with Flames related posts are great to follow.
Do you watch games? If so, where do you typically watch and with whom?
Yes, I really try to watch games live. Usually alone from my home.
Rarely, I’ll watch east coast games live — the earliest (matinees) will start around 8pm. Occasionally, a few buddies and myself will watch some games the day after, though those won’t always be Flames games. For many games, I’m restricted to the wonderful Reddit GIF or YouTube highlight packages.
It’s always tough to watch the games live on TV, if the play at home ice its usually 3 or 4 a.m. for me. I pay every year the cost for the NHL so I can watch it live or at least watch the replay sometime during the day.
What is the most popular sport where you live, and which teams? What challenges do you face following the Flames?
Ice hockey, football, tennis. There are numerous teams that are really popular, but ice hockey is definitely #1 here. It’s a pity that Calgary and Canada are so far away from CZE.
Soccer (football), by far — Amsterdam’s team is Ajax FC, probably the biggest club in the Netherlands. Football dominates sports bars, so if it isn’t the Eredivisie then it’s one of the other big leagues.
The big challenge is the time difference: a typical home game starts between 2 and 3am. Watching western conference games is something I only ever do at the end of a night out.
Most popular is tough to say. Its a 50/50 between hockey and soccer.
What is the best experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?
Once I wrote to ask Roman Horak a few questions, and I wrote it in the Czech language. I wasn’t sure if my questions would appear in the video chat with him but it did. He really had trouble to translate it and answer; that was funny. I also liked the 2018-19 Flames regular season run. They played as a great mature team.
I wear my Flames jersey (Bouwmeester) around the city occasionally and I love the conversations it generates, from Dutch or international people. My jersey is a symbol of Canada as much as the Flames, and I love proselytizing about home or hockey.
The afternoon games! That is for me a game that starts around 10pm. That is a “must have” on these days.
What is the worst experience you’ve had as a Flames fan from where you live?
I have to mention last season playoffs, that was disappointing. I also almost cried when Jarome Iginla left the organization.
I haven’t had any issues in Amsterdam, but I have had a German guy dump a beer on me because he was drunk and (I assume) an Oilers fan. I was the tourist wearing a Flames jersey at Oktoberfest though, so maybe I was asking for it.
I booked in summer 2011 a trip to Calgary. Travel time was end of Feb 2012. I was there to visit a friend. Then came the lockout. I thought it would be over when I be there in 2012…. but hey, the day when my flight back home was booked was the same day the flames played their 1st game of the season…. and it was a away game🙄
Who is your favourite player and why?
Johnny Gaudreau – although he’s small and that’s a big handicap in this league, he always tries to do his best. Great hand skills. And also David Rittich – I watched him when he was playing in the Czech Republic and sometimes I’m very surprised he improved that much and is able to steal some games in the NHL.
My first jersey/first love growing up was Al MacInnis. Rasmus Andersson is quickly becoming the active favourite.
I know it sounds like standard but Jarome Iginla. He was and is for me still the “face of this franchise”. From the active players I like the style of play from Rasmus Andersson
ANY LAST THOUGHTS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
If you see a Flames jersey in Amsterdam, maybe stop for a chat!
In this spacial times? Stay healthy everyone and Go Flames Go for this special Playoff format. Everything could happen.
Thanks to these Flames fans for providing such great answers to our questionnaire. The only Czech player currently on the Flames roster is David Rittich, but he looks to be a huge part of the team going forward. Perhaps his run as the starting goalie will have a similar effect on bringing in Flames fan from his home country as Miikka Kiprusoff did.
It’s fascinating to see how the Flames jerseys are a source of fandom. The fact that the long-gone Blasty jersey is the reason for becoming a fan, and that the Flames jersey is a symbol of not only the city, but the whole country of Canada abroad is awesome.
Are you from Europe and follow the Flames? 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 Morocco, Tunisia, and Tajikistan!