May 8, 2004
Riggers rock the 'Dome
By BRET HART - SLAM! Wrestling
It's a great time to be from Calgary. Not that any time isn't.
Last Monday at the 'Dome was an incredible night I'll never forget.
I remember being surprisingly optimistic about the series with the Detroit Red Wings. I'd never seen the Calgary Flames fans so worked up and it was easy to see right from the start of the game Jarome Iginla and the boys were tired of being second guessed.
Listening to the pumped-up crowd brought back memories from my wrestling career when I rocked the 'Dome.
It's an amazing feeling to stand at centre ice and hear a crowd roar like that.
Only a few people get to hear that kind of ovation in their lifetime and the Flames waited long enough.
It's my unqualified hunch if there is but one man that holds the secret formula to beating the San Jose Sharks it has to be Darryl Sutter.
The way Sutter has motivated this team no doubt makes him a strong candidate for coach of the year.
With all eyes focused on the Flames, it's easy to have missed the amazing season the Calgary Roughnecks have had.
The National Lacrosse League franchise has done an amazing job of putting this team together and after last night's championship game, they can hold their heads high.
I was speaking with Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky at the team office a few days ago. He, Kaleb Toth and the rest of the Roughnecks were nothing but a picture of confidence.
They couldn't wait to take to the carpet in front of 20,000 screaming fans.
I've never been to a lacrosse game and I found the championship game really interesting -- especially the audience.
The Roughnecks' ardent supporters were as loud as any crowd for any event I can remember, along the lines of what the Flames have been hearing for the past few weeks.
It was while talking to Roughnecks GM and president Brad Banister I bumped into Stan Schwartz.
The retired Stampeders president was on hand to lend his support and, perhaps, to take a look at Banister's playbook on how he's taken this young team all the way to the top.
With a strong fan base, an amazing assortment of some of the best lacrosse players in the world and with the looming NHL strike, the Roughnecks and the WHL Hitmen could very well be the best entertainment in town next year.
All I know is after waiting for years to finally come home from my travels as a wrestler, it has been a blast watching the Flames, Hitmen and the Roughnecks entertain me for a change.
Wouldn't it make for an absolutely wonderful year if Calgary became the City of Champions?
With the Flames and the Roughnecks playing the way they have, maybe new Stampeders head coach Matt Dunigan can follow suit by lighting a fire under the Stampeders to cap it all off.
Could you imagine that?
There's magic in the air.