Upon planning this trip, I decided to see if there was a hockey game either in Calgary or Edmonton while I was in Alberta, because it seems like it would be criminal to visit Canada and not see a hockey game (that and I really enjoy hockey). As luck would have it, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League had a home game the evening of my arrival at the Saddledome, so the plan was made to go! On the way back to the Saddledome from the Calgary Tower, I kept an eye open for a place to have dinner, and stopped at a place called Vagabond.
The meal of choice for the evening was a Mac and Cheese with Bacon, and a Rock Creek Cider from Big Rock Brewery. I enjoyed the cider, and the Mac and Cheese was AMAZING! Along with a delicious cheese mixture and the crispy bacon, there was also a light coating of breadcrumbs. Absolutely a delightfully good warm-up to the game.
One of the best things about Vagabond is that it's only a short walk away from the Saddledome, where for this eveing, the Calgary Hitmen were hosting their in-province rival, the Red Deer Rebels.
(Fun note, the Hitmen name comes from another legendary Canadian pro wrestler of Calgary, Owen's older brother Bret Hart, who was nicknamed "The Hitman").
While the Hitmen call the Saddledome home, it is primarily the home area of the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames. If you're not sure which team is the bigger one, entering the arena will certainly tell you that the Flames are king here. A wide availability of Flames merchandise, the banners in the rafters, the ice having their logo and there being a Flames Hall of Fame the arena is Flames territory first and foremost. The arena was also one of the host sites during the 1988 Winter Olympics, and thus they have displays related to the events of the games on display, including the torch used to bring the Olympic Flame that year.
After Exploring the arena a bit, it was time to head to my seat and get ready for the game. My spot for this evening's contest had me on the front row of the second deck. Seeing as how the Hitmen and Rebels are junior league teams, there wasn't nearly as many fans as there would likely have been for an NHL game, however the Hitmen fans were still really into the game and supportive of their team.
And when it was all said and done, the Hitmen would prevail over the Rebels by a score of 4-1. It wasn't the closest game, but it was still entertaining to watch these younger up-and-coming players on the ice, some of whom may play in this very arena in the future with a larger crowd as a member of the Flames or one of the other NHL teams.
After the game, it was back to the hotel for the night so that I could take a drive North to visit one of my most anticipated Canadian Amusement Parks, and the large chopping center it resides in.