What'll it take for Flames fans to support the Oilers?
'We got one win in the Honda Centre, one more than Calgary,' says Fernando Pisani
Will Calgary Flames fans head north and throw their support behind the Edmonton Oilers as the playoffs continue?
The Edmonton Oilers beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 on Wednesday, taking Game 1 in that series and shooting Oilers fans into a frenzy. But here in Alberta not everyone is pulling for the Oilers, namely Calgary Flames fans.
CBC Calgary News at 6 asked two former players to weigh in with their thoughts — former Edmonton Oilers forward Fernando Pisani and former Calgary Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr.
Regehr says the Flames being knocked out the playoffs was a tough blow for fans.
"They are very disappointed that the team couldn't at least win one game, especially down at the Honda Centre," Regehr said.
"I was one of those guys that wanted to see them do it and break this ugly streak that they have down there, so that was disappointing to see that sweep. But that being said, if you look at the season that they had, the Flames were last place in the league in November. For them to battle back and make the playoffs was a pretty impressive feat, especially with a new coach there, [Glen] Gulutzan."
But why are Flames fans reluctant to support the remaining Alberta team?
"It's a huge rivalry and it has been for decades," Regehr explained.
"That was built in the hatred of the 1980s when both teams were at the top of their games and very competitive. That just doesn't go away very quickly. Flames fans and lots of sports fans have long memories. You see that by them booing certain players when they come to town and that's just part of it."
Pisani says eventually, Flames fans will come around.
"It's just been a lot of fun. We got one win in the Honda Centre, one more than Calgary, so we are ahead of the game on that part," he said.
"I think everybody is behind the Oilers now, I think some of the Flames fans are going to be cheering for Edmonton."
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With files from CBC Calgary News at 6