A packed house at the Drumheller Memorial Arena affirms the Alumni Calgary Flames are still stars wherever they go.
It also shows the Badlands Community Centre has strong support from area residents.
There was standing room only last Wednesday night as an all star team of Drumheller hockey players took on a squad of ‘forever Flames’ that included Theoren Fleury, Jim Peplinski, Jamie Macoun and the unmistakable Lanny McDonald.
Dave Powell organized the event at Drumheller Memorial Arena. He had trouble putting into words how he felt about the event.
"I am ecstatic about the way things went,” said Powell.
He said the Flames organization, from the first conversations with Jim Peplinski, right up to the day of the event, were very supportive.
The Flames freely interacted with fans at the arena and at the meet and greet directly after the game. Never turning down a request from a fan for an autograph, or to pose for a photo, they were accessible from start to finish. There was a flurry around Fleury of jerseys, pennants and copies of his autobiography Playing With Fire, all waiting for his autograph.
On the ice, they provided exciting action for the fans. At times an all star team, at times sporting Harlem Globetrotter-style showmanship. Gary Chambers, who scored the first goal for the Drumheller team received a pie in the face for his troubles. Vocal coaching from Lanny McDonald kept the audience in stitches throughout the match.
Even with the showmanship, there was no question the players had not lost a step and could turn on their A-game at the drop of a puck.
Tony Lacher, co-chair of the Badlands Community Facility Steering Committee, said the event was just what they needed to kick off the fundraising campaign.
“We wanted to fill the arena. More than anything we wanted to see a good crowd, and that is the energy we needed to get the project off on the right foot,” said Lacher.
Mayor Bryce Nimmo echoed the sentiment.
“What struck me was the groundswell of people. When you see the number of people going full blast like this, it can only get better as time goes on,” "People are going to see this happen, (the community facility), and it will be good for our town.”
Nimmo praised the strength of the organizers who put so much time into the event and was appreciative to EnCana and Stacy Knull. EnCana jumped in first to start the fundraising efforts by donating $500,000 to the cause.
Peplinski also recognized the organizers at the end of the game.
“Thanks for bringing us into play. For us guys, we just like to come out and play, and when you have people who are doing good things for the community, it just makes it that much more fun,” he said.
This is just the start for the Badlands Community Facility. The next day, on Thursday, November 12, ground was broken on the Badlands Community Facility site. Next Wednesday and Thursday, November 18 and 19, is the Drumheller Rotary Radio Auction. The proceeds from this event will be directed to the Badlands Community Facility Project also.