First road trip a success for Flames

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

With most players in town a week before training camp, Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla took advantage of the situation.

A few days ago, Iginla organized a getaway day for the team in Banff, with players spending the day playing golf or fishing and then gathering for dinner in the mountain resort town.

"It was a nice chance to do it before going into the season, not only to see each other again but also to get to know the new guys and help everyone feel a bit more comfortable before camp," Iginla said yesterday. "Once camp starts, you're on two different teams and it's all business."

Since most players arrived in Calgary in time for the club's charity golf tournament Sept. 5, they had time to kill in the Stampede City.

They gathered almost daily for informal on-ice sessions, but the club's leadership crew figured it was a golden opportunity for a bonding trip.

After all, this is a group that'll spend a huge amount of time together over the next seven to nine months, through plenty of trials and tribulations.

Besides, last year's squad wasn't as tight of a group as many would have liked.

"One thing you hear about teams that win is how close they are. You can't fabricate it," Iginla said.

"We have a close group of guys here -- a lot of us have played here for a long time -- so I don't think there were problems last year ...

"We had a really nice group of people, but whether it was our schedule or whatever, it didn't set up to hang out more and get to know each other more.

"I don't think, as a team, when we're getting ready for a season, and even during, you can spend too much time together. The more the better. I think the more the better."

It's not like they climbed a mountain as a team-building exercise or stormed a castle in a mock war, but still the importance of having a few laughs can't be overstated.

"It wasn't anything huge but with the season starting so quickly we felt we needed to come together and have fun and meet the new guys," said Craig Conroy.

THE NUMBERS GAME

New RW Owen Nolan will don his familiar No. 11, having been given the number from Stephane Yelle.

"I knew it meant a lot to him and he's played almost 1,000 games with that number. When I think of Owen Nolan, I think of 11, so it'll be a perfect fit for him," Yelle said.

Nolan didn't have to fork over wads of cash or pay for a family vacation.

"He was gracious enough to give it to me and I appreciate it. I'll take care of him for it," Nolan said.

Yelle will switch to No. 7.

David Moss has switched his 58 for 25, while Adrian Aucoin will don 33, Cory Sarich No. 6 and Anders Eriksson 8.


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