If you grew up here, you get a little extra fire in your belly every time the Oilers play the Flames…especially if you were lucky enough to watch the epic battles during the 80s! Ahead of tonights game in Calgary, Grant Fuhr wrote a great piece for “The Players Tribune” website. It’s his perspective, his memories, his words on “The Battle of Alberta”
“The Battle of Alberta is like a punch that lands right on your jaw — you may or may not have seen it coming, but you better believe you’re going to be feeling it in the morning. And the next day. And the day after that.
When I was getting my feet wet in the league with Edmonton during the early ’80s, the rivalry was just starting to really heat up. From pretty much 1981 on up through 1991, the Oilers and the Flames were the best of the best in our conference, and those matchups were some of the most intense, brutal and hard-fought that I’ve ever been a part of.”
“If the Oilers and the Flames were playing — and we played a lot back in those days — guys were going to be fighting. And everyone knew it. You knew the other guys out there … very well. And they knew you. So if you wanted to take a cheap shot at Gretzky, you did that knowing full-well that you were going to be getting up close and personal with McSorley or Semenko — and just like Gretz, those guys were very, very good at what they did … just a different skill set that’s all. There would be no maybe about it. If you did something like that, you knew you’d have to pay a price.
And I’m not talking about some fine like you’d have today, either.
A fine? Come on. Nobody cares about a fine. It’s a joke. These guys make so much money that it doesn’t even register.
But a punch in the face?
Well, that’s another thing.
If someone’s going to punch you in the face — like clean in the face, just … BAM! — that’s a price you’re going to actually feel.
That’s a whole different story.”
“With this game on the horizon, the chatter has really picked up throughout Alberta, and that’s always fun to be a part of. But one of the things that sometimes bugs me about how people discuss this rivalry is that you’ll hear it talked about as a battle between the Oilers and the Flames.
That doesn’t do it justice.
The Battle of Alberta isn’t just a rivalry between those two NHL teams. It’s bigger than that. It’s between the city of Edmonton and the city of Calgary.
And all the people who live in both towns.
If you grew up in one of those two places, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I was born and raised just outside of Edmonton, and ever since I was a little kid — I’m talking three years old, first-memory type stuff — I was taught not to like Calgary. You’re just raised that way, you know what I mean?
It’s a huge rivalry.”
“As far as I’m concerned, you don’t hate. You might strongly dislike, and you might want to see the other side lose every single time out, but you don’t hate. Instead you kind of just enjoy the fact that you’re lucky enough to have a rival that gets you so pumped up that you could run straight through a brick wall.
I mean, if you’re an Edmonton guy, you could have a bad year, but as long as you beat up on Calgary … it was going to be O.K. On the flip side, you could have a great year and if you played bad against Calgary … it was definitely not O.K. It was like that from the time I was a kid playing peewee hockey against teams from Calgary, and it’s still like that to this day for so many people at all levels.
It’s still more than just a game when Edmonton and Calgary get together.”
The full article is definitely worth the read, those are just a few parts I wanted to highlight. Here is a link to the full thing.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.