Battle of Alberta takes a back seat

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:49 PM ET


 They grew up watching NHL hockey from an Edmonton perspective, cheering on the Oilers and against the Calgary Flames.

 Yet it's Calgary civic pride that has Jarome Iginla, Andrew Ference and Mike Commodore on a hockey high these days.

 "It guess if you think about it, it sounds weird," said Ference, an Edmonton product. "But it doesn't feel weird. I guess I'm an Albertan first."

 "It's been a while since I've been at home, so this is close enough to home," said fellow Flames rearguard Mike Commodore, who hails from Fort Saskatchewan.

 "It just feels good to be back playing in Canada and in Alberta, especially."

 It feels even better now that the Flames have captured the spirit of virtually every Calgarian. If they didn't realize that before they snapped the seven-year playoff drought, they realized it during and after their emotional first-round, seven-game triumph over the Canucks.

 Ference was still talking proudly about the fans two days after the overtime win Monday to clinch that opening series.

 "It's a sense of pride for us as players to give (Calgarians) the ability to dance on transit buses and act like hooligans -- that's great," Ference said.

 "We don't mind being the catalyst for that."

 Even for kids from Edmonton?

 "To tell you the truth, it's blown me away," Commodore said.

 Added Iginla: "It was tough going home every year and watching (the Oilers) in the playoffs. Especially when the Oilers, a lot of years, had stolen our spot "(But) Edmonton's a very good hockey city, too."


Videos

Photos