SUN Hockey Pool

Flames are Newfoundland west

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

By all accounts, the Leafs and Canadiens reign supreme among the hockey fanatics of Bonavista, Nfld.

In the Stampede City these days, however, a couple of boys are looking to make those allegiances swing further west.

Much further west.

Flames draft choices Adam Pardy and Dan Ryder are partaking in the club's prospects camp working to make their mark on the club's brass.

With any luck, it won't be long before they'll be donning the Flaming C and keeping so many of their hometown's hockey nuts up extra late watching the second half of the Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night doubleheaders.

"We'll get some of them to start cheering for Calgary," states Pardy.

Pardy, who turned 21 this summer, was first to join the Flames organization, chosen 173rd overall in the 2004 draft.

Just more than a month ago, Ryder -- the 18-year-old younger brother of Montreal Canadiens young gun Michael -- was nabbed in the third round, 74th overall.

Pardy was thrilled to be able to welcome his fellow Bonavistan.

"I knew he was going to get drafted because he's a good player but I didn't expect Calgary, though. It was a big surprise," said Pardy. "I knew it would be good for him, for the both of us."

Hailing from a hometown of little more than 4,000, the pair have been buddies for years. In fact, Pardy is currently dating Ryder's older sister, Susan.

"We always played hockey together, softball, everything as kids. Everybody hangs out together so we knew each other really well," said Pardy, a 6-ft. 5-in., 215-lb. defenceman. "We just stuck him in net all the time.

"Actually he was always good. Since he was a little kid, he always was good at everything."

Ryder, by the way, has a different story.

"They'd all just boss me around," said the 5-ft. 10-in., 195-lb. centre who potted 82 points (29-53-82) with the OHL's Peterborough Petes this past season.

Either way, the pair are now like brothers in arms, hanging around together and learning how it all works.

"I'm learning the ropes myself, so it's not like I'm going to show him much," said Pardy.

Besides, Ryder has the benefit of an older brother who has made his way up the ranks.

"Actually, he didn't say much, just a little bit about what to expect at training camp," he said. "The biggest thing he said was to play my game and don't try to be something I'm not."

As it stands, the immediate plans for Ryder likely include a return to junior. Pardy, however, will probably see work in the minors.

ICE CHIPS: The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't want Sidney Crosby to miss even a minute of their first training camp in two years. As a result, they're expected to announce today the No. 1 draft pick has signed his first NHL contract, a formality since the new labour deal limits his first-year compensation to $850,000 in salary and $850,000 in bonuses ... Buffalo Sabres defenceman James Patrick retired yesterday to end a 21-year NHL career and accepted an assistant coaching position with the team.


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