The Calgary Flames may not have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, but Calgary has its fingerprints all over the two teams currently competing for the Stanley Cup, the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers. Here are all the associated players who have either played for Calgary or hail from the city itself.
Vegas Golden Knights
The current starting goalie for the Golden Knights has Comox, BC listed as his birthplace, but Adin Hill actually moved to Calgary when he was three years old and grew up playing in Calgary’s minor hockey program. He played his junior hockey in the Calgary Buffaloes program from U15 AAA all the way to U18 AAA, before playing in the AJHL for the Calgary Canucks.
Hill still regularly communicates with his goalie coach from his time in Calgary, and is having an incredible run in the playoffs this season.
Another product of Calgary minor hockey, Logan Thompson was born and raised in Calgary. He also played for the Buffaloes program from U15 AAA to U18 AAA. Thompson followed a very similar path as Hill, just one year behind him. Thompson was unfortunately injured and has not played in the playoffs, but he played in 37 games for the Golden Knights in the regular season sporting a 21–13–3 record.
Laurent Brossoit played his junior hockey up the highway with the Edmonton Oil Kings, but was drafted 164th overall in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Flames. He made his professional hockey debut in 2013–14 with the Abbotsford Heat, the Flames’ AHL affiliate team at the time. Brossoit didn’t end up playing any games for the Flames, as he was traded along with Roman Horak to the Edmonton Oilers for Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy in November 2013.
The most obvious Calgary connection is Matthew Tkachuk. Drafted sixth overall by the Flames in 2016 NHL Draft, Tkachuk made a name for himself as a two-way monster wearing a Flaming C. Tkachuk played six seasons with the Flames, tallying 152 goals and 382 points in 431 games. He also added seven goals and 15 points in 27 playoff games, a far cry from the 22 points in 18 playoff games he has this year.
Tkachuk was of course traded to the Panthers last offseason after he announced he would not sign long-term in Calgary. The Flames received a package that included Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar in return.
Sam Bennett still holds the honour of being the highest draft selection ever made in Flames franchise history. The rugged forward was picked fourth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, and was ranked number one on Central Scouting’s North American skaters ranking that season. Bennett played parts of seven seasons with the Flames, scoring 67 goals and 140 points in 402 games. He added 11 goals and 19 points in 30 playoff games as well. Bennett never managed to find a permanent role with the Flames, and even requested a trade towards his time in Calgary, but he became a fan favourite for his style of play and his “Lanny McDonald mustache”.
Bennett was traded to the Panthers in April 2021.
Ryan Lomberg was not drafted in any of his four years of eligibility, and got his start in professional hockey with the Flames organization. He was signed to a minor league deal for the 2015–16 season and played with the AHL’s Stockton Heat and ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. He earned an entry-level contract with the Flames in 2017, and eventually worked his way up to the NHL in the 2017–18 season. He played 11 games with the Flames over two seasons, scoring one assist at the NHL level.
Lomberg was a big part of the Heat, wearing an “A” for his final two seasons there.
A strong presence
It seems like Calgary is always represented in the Stanley Cup final whether the Flames are competing for the prize or not. You don’t have to look far to see the impact that Calgary has had on hockey, from Brayden Point with the Lightning, Cale Makar with the Avalanche, and now Hill with the Golden Knights. Hopefully the Calgary kid can bring the Cup back home this summer.