Flame reborn

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Having used his suitcase time and time again since his departure from the Stampede City, Jason Wiemer pledges to be a new man this time around.

Wiemer, traded from Calgary after three-plus seasons in the summer of 2001, is back after an odyssey that saw him wear three sweaters in four seasons. And he has a new outlook.

"I certainly realized how quickly it could be over," said the Flames forward. "When you come into the league so young, you think you're going to play forever. It's something that seems handed to you easily but when you get put on waivers and aren't sure where you're going to end up, you realize this could be over quickly.

"You definitely get re-dedicated when you realize how important it is."

Acquired from Tampa late in the 1997-98 season, Wiemer became a favourite of Brian Sutter. However, under Don Hay, the 6-ft. 1-in., 225-lb. centre/left wing lost his groove and was subsequently dealt to Florida with Val Bure for Rob Niedermayer.

After a season with the Panthers, he was shipped to the New York Islanders. Early in his second campaign on Long Island, Wiemer was placed on waivers and claimed by the Minnesota Wild. He became an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2004 and signed a three-year deal with Calgary.

A product of Kimberley, B.C., the veteran of 677 NHL games made it no secret he wanted a return to Calgary.

"I talked to (assistant coach) Rich Preston and expressed some interest. I knew I wanted to come back here and wanted to make sure they knew that. It worked out well," said Wiemer, originally drafted eighth overall by the Lightning in 1994. "I enjoyed playing here, I love the city and liked the guys here. I looked at the team, watched them play in the playoffs. It was something I wanted to be a part of."

He returns to the team second behind Jarome Iginla among current Flames on the club's all-time scoring list. And he is more dedicated.

"When I was traded, I was 25 years old and didn't really understand much about the game," he said. "I've been fortunate over the last few years to be involved with some good hockey people like Mike Keenan and Jacques Lemaire. I learned a lot about myself and learned a lot about the game, so I'm definitely more focused than I was back then. I know more what it takes and how to prepare. You look back now and think you were prepared and ready but, in reality, you weren't. You thought you were doing as much as you could but in reality you could more. There's a few things that have come around and I definitely have a different look on the game."


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