'Dome for the road

PABLO FERNANDEZ -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:13 PM ET

 Even while the Flames are playing thousands of kilometres away, the Sea of Red is set to engulf the 'Dome.

 The team announced yesterday the doors to the Pengrowth Saddledome will be open to the public during the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, which will see the home squad hit the road in either Tampa Bay or Philadelphia.

  Fans are invited to come together and watch Stanley Cup road action on the Jumbotron while sitting in the 'Dome's bleachers -- surrounded by Flames euphoria.

 "The concept is one of a family atmosphere so that they can participate -- for those who haven't been able to get tickets for the games -- in this unbelievable excitement," said Flames vice-president of ticket sales Rollie Cyr.

 Flames spokesman Sean O'Brien said the admission to the Saddledome during those two games will be general seating and free of charge.

 "Donations are welcome to support the Flames Foundation and the Inter-Faith Food Bank," said O'Brien.

 The stadium's main bowl will be alcohol-free, but concessions will be open, he said.

 The team's vice-president of building operations Libby Raines said the reason for the alcohol ban is to create a setting that's conducive to all ages.

 "We hope it will be a great atmosphere for Calgarians in which to get together and enjoy the games as a community," said Raines.

 "It offers a nice option for them, as 17th Avenue doesn't work for all ages."

 Raines said the Flames received a steady stream of calls from Calgarians asking the team to open the 'Dome to fans looking for a place to come together, watch and celebrate.

 Doors will open at 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday for the 6 p.m. away games in Tampa Bay or Philadelphia and free parking will be provided at the grounds' A lot.

 Meanwhile, for home games, the Saddledome's capacity is being tested by the world's media as they try to get a seat from which to watch history unfold.

 For the last series, 100 seats at the top of the stadium's bleachers were reserved for sports media, a demand that was slightly reduced when the team opened up limited standing room for fans.

 But media requirements during this round are going to be significantly higher than they were for the last three series, but it's a demand the Flames were ready for, said Cyr.

 "This is a world stage now, so we knew in advance that additional tickets would be required as more media converge into the city the further along the playoffs we got," said Cyr.

 "So we made allocation for the media in the playoff zone."

 The seats are at the top of the stadium in the area affectionately known by fans as the nosebleeds.

 - - -

 FLAMES FANS ARE STOKED!

 * Staff at Legacy Kitchen, 2980 Sunridge Way N.E., will make Flames fandemonium a workplace affair next week. More than 35 Legacy employees will swarm their warehouse parking lot and turn their private vehicles into mobile Flames shrines by painting and decalling their vehicles.

 * Adoring fans decided Flames head coach and GM Darryl Sutter wasn't getting the recognition he deserves and unofficially renamed Centre St. Bridge in his honour. The new sign greeting drivers had a black background with red and yellow letters -- not the standard city green.


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