As incredible as it is catching a game with the C of Red at the Scotiabank Saddledome, it is a special experience going deep into enemy territory and catching a game in another barn. Not only is a great opportunity to cheer on the Calgary Flames across North America, it also is a great opportunity to check out a new city. While there are still some concerns with the Canada/US border, there is some hope that it may be reopened to travellers shortly, and thus present an opportunity for fans who have been cooped up at home to follow the team out on the road.
Unlike in previous years, this year’s schedule leaves something to be desired in terms of weekend getaways. The Flames play the majority of their weekend games at home, having thirteen games at home to eleven on the road on the weekends. However, of those eleven, six are on Sunday nights, making for a slightly longer than a weekend trip.
That being said, there are still some incredible opportunities to catch the Flames on the road this season. Let’s take a look at the best chances this season.
Best road weekends
New York Islanders/Boston Bruins: November 20th and 21st
Regrettably, there is only one pure weekend (Saturday and Sunday) getaway for Flames fans this season, but the good news is that it’s in two incredible cities in Boston and New York. It falls early enough in the season that the quality of hockey will be that of teams vying for more standings points, and it’ll be against two very good teams in the Bruins and Islanders.
There are also a number of stars on both teams, with David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, and the pesky Brad Marchand lining up for the Bruins, while Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey hold it down for the Isles. A fairly star-studded weekend to partake in back-to-back hockey.
Both games fall in incredible cities, with no shortage of things to do in either. However, if you want to extend your trip by a day or two, there are some other sports that you can catch. For basketball fans, the Brooklyn Nets play the Orlando Magic on November 19th, the Friday night, while the Boston Celtics take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers the same night. While it is a little cumbersome to make the approximately three hour, forty-two minute drive from Beantown to the Big Apple, catching one of the best all-time basketball players is a treat.
While there are no direct flights from Calgary to New York City or Boston, there are numerous connections through Toronto or elsewhere to get you over to the east coast without much difficulty. Assuming the borders do re-open, this may be the best opportunity to make a weekend out of catching the Flames this season.
Best mid-week getaways
New York Rangers/New Jersey Devils: October 25th and 26th
Still feeling like going east but happy to take a couple extra days off work? The Rangers and Devils back to back may be the way to do it. This presents an opportunity to see two teams at the end of their rebuilds and looking to prove that they belong in the playoffs again.
For the Rangers, this is a big year for Alexis Lafreniere, who will be going into his second season with a lot to prove. Projected to be a star in a few years, this is your chance to catch him live in what is expected to be a big year for him. It is also a chance to watch former Flames prospect Adam Fox live in the Big Apple.
Across the river, the Devils have made some big moves to be competitive this season, adding former Flame Dougie Hamilton to their lineup. Throw in Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Ty Smith, and you have the makings of a very good team. This will be a fun series to catch for Flames fans, as catching up on the two defenders traded for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin all in the same back-to-back is a sure fire way to remind ourselves of what could have been.
Want to extend the trip an extra day? The New York Knicks take on the Orlando Magic and the Brooklyn Nets face off against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday the 24th. Football fans can also catch the New York Giants against the Carolina Panthers on that Sunday afternoon as well. Still not done? The Brooklyn Nets take on Kyle Lowry and the Miami Heat on October 27th at Barclay Arena which projects to be an excellent game.
While this trip means taking an extra couple of days off work, it could be the most exciting trip to getaway on for Flames fans. The caveat is that it’s early in the season, and wariness on travel must be recommended should cross-border travel open up for the Canadian Flames fans. If things aren’t ready by then, the American Flames fans can reap the benefits all to themselves.
Montreal Canadiens/Toronto Maple Leafs/Ottawa Senators: November 11th to 14th
If the Canada/US Border remains closed to tourists, the best Canadian trip of them all is to hit all three east coast cities in one shot through November. It will be cold but not frigid, and with the Remembrance Day long weekend, it allows some flexibility in days off.
It is also an incredible experience to catch a game in these cities. Little needs to be said about just how good the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the regular season, with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and company being able to handle almost any team that comes their way. They also have former Flame T.J. Brodie on the back-end, and it is always a treat to catch him on the ice. With an incredible atmosphere, there are few places as incredible to catch a game as the Scotiabank Arena.
While the Senators are still a rebuilding franchise and have their arena in Kanata Ontario, the Sens are a sneaky good team, and can battle with most teams in the league. It will also be a chance to catch the famous Tkachuk Bowl, with Matthew facing off against Brady on the ice. You can never go wrong with that battle.
The runners-up in last year’s Stanley Cup finals, the Habs are looking to push all the way to the cup this season, and will prove a tough opponent for any team they face. Flames fans will be able to see Cole Caufield in real life for his first full rookie season, as well as catch breakout stars Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki as they continue to develop.
The icing on the cake? The Toronto Raptors play on November 13th, the night after the Leafs game, against the Detroit Pistons at the Scotiabank Arena. This means not three games, but four games over four days on sports weekend. You can’t go wrong! However, your wallet might sting if you’re able to grab tickets to these games.
Los Angeles Kings/Anaheim Ducks: December 2nd and 3rd
What better way to break the winter than to head to sunny California in December to watch hockey. While this back-to-back is on a Thursday/Friday, it presents a nice opportunity to use some of those vacation days before the calendar flips to 2022 and make a weekend out of sports. Take your significant other or friends to catch two nights of hockey then take a couple days to explore Southern California.
The Kings and Ducks are both in their rebuilds, with the Kings looking to come out of it this season. They boast a strong lineup including a good mix of veterans with the likes of Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Phillip Danault, and Viktor Arvidsson, while having one of the league’s best prospects systems right now. The Ducks have Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras forming part of their new young crop of players. Add in Ryan Getzlaf and John Gibson, and you have the makings of something really great. This is a great opportunity to catch a couple of Flames road games in crucial Pacific Division games.
Want to make a heck of a hockey weekend out of it? The Flames play the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday December 5th evening in Sin City, which is one of the best arenas to catch a game at. Alternatively, the Stockton Heat play the San Diego Gulls in Stockton on Saturday the 4th evening as well. While it is a bit of a drive, going up the Californian coast is a must-drive route in North America.
Want to catch some football? The Jacksonville Jaguars play the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon. Alternatively, if you want to make a trip up the coast, the San Antonio Spurs play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday evening, and you cannot go wrong watching Steph Curry. The L.A. Clippers also play the Sacramento Kings that evening as well. All great options in sunny California.
Off-the-board road trip for Flames fans
Feeling for something different? Can’t get enough of the prospects? This year, the Saint John Sea Dogs are one of the two teams that have bid to host the Memorial Cup. Boasting Ryan Francis, Jeremie Poirier, and potentially Yan Kuznetsov on their roster, if they win the bid, the Sea Dogs automatically earn a spot in the elite competition. That means that you are virtually guaranteed to see some of the most exciting Flames prospects in the highest tournament in Canadian Junior Hockey.
It is also a great opportunity to see the eastern parts of our country, something many Albertans do not end up seeing. With friendly people, incredible natural beauty, and some great hockey, how can you go wrong? The Sea Dogs are competing with the Quebec Remparts for the opportunity to host this season, and the winner will be announced next month. Should the Sea Dogs end up winning the bid, this would be an incredibly fun sports weekend for Flames fans to see what could be coming next.
Calgary Flames: Far from Home
The 2021–22 promises to be packed with exciting hockey as interdivisional play resumes. With Canadian NHL games no longer contained in empty arenas, there will be opportunities to watch the Flames live all over North America once again. However, there will be no shortage of fans in the stands as a safe return to in-arena spectating hockey fans around Canada either, if sticking to Canadian only games are more comfortable with the ongoing pandemic.
No matter how you consume Flames hockey, there will be plenty of storylines all season long to follow. Catching some games on the road is just one way to welcome back the return of a full-fledged NHL season.