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Flames staffer lives Oly dream

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Mark DePasquale expected his Olympic experience would be a great time, even if it meant working all day for various teams.

It ended up being as good as gold.

DePasquale, the Flames athletic therapist and assistant equipment manager, was in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to work for the Easton service centre.

His job was to mainly fix equipment and help out clubs without enough staff, such as Latvia and Belarus, and lend a hand to the other squads when needed.

"Normal trainer game day, eight in the morning to midnight. It was really busy until teams started to be eliminated," DePasquale said.

The business never ended, and DePasquale couldn't be more thankful.

He worked the last couple of games for Team Canada -- even spent some time on the bench for a few minutes of the gold-medal game when one of his counterparts had to race to the room to sharpen skates -- and was able to partake in the jubilation along with the likes of goal-scoring hero Sidney Crosby and Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

"I took pictures wearing Iggy's medal and sipped champagne."

Originally, DePasquale figured he'd be busy for the first 10 days, and then be around for specific players, such as Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff, who backstopped Finland to bronze.

He also had expected to spend some time with his wife, Kelly, and children Maddox and Mia.

No chance.

"All the trainers are capable but don't have the tools. I can't remember which team it was early in the tournament, but somebody broke a blade and the trainer came to me and said in broken English, 'Help me,' " he said.

At the end of the tournament, he even received a unique police escort.

DePasquale had to get to the airport with the equipment bags for the three Flames players, but upon getting outside the arena realized he had no chance getting through the swarm of people.

A police car brought in to help, but he had too many bags to fit in one vehicle, so another car was brought to get him out of the mess.

After working their way through the crowds, the policemen spotted a taxi.

"Poor guy, he starts pulling out his licence and registration and they said, 'No, you're taking this guy to the airport,' " DePasquale said with a laugh.


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