Category Archives: Calgary Flames Pro Shop

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DALLAS — Five hundred games in the professional-hockey biz.

Calgary Flames sparkplug Zac Rinaldo might be the only person who believed that milestone was within reach.

“Tonight? No sh–?” Rinaldo replied when informed he would hit that nice round number in Sunday’s road date against the Dallas Stars — a combination of 357 appearances in the NHL and 143 more in the minors. “See, I don’t even look at that stuff. But that’s a really, really nice accomplishment. I wasn’t even supposed to get one game, never mind 500. So 500 pro games, it’s an honour to be a part of.

“I’m not supposed to be here right now,” he added. “Not many players like myself who were drafted in the sixth round for their toughness stick around this long, especially in this day and age where the game is changing every day and every year.

“So I’ve had a lot of doubters throughout my whole career and a lot of people that didn’t believe in me. This game is for them, I guess.”

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Calgary Flames fans went home happy Thursday night, following a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres.

But a Flames fan by the name of Cindy drove home just a bit happier.

See also:
Fans react to Lucic finally scoring his first goal with the Flames

Tobias Rieder’s second-period goal was scored during the Flames’ “Minute to Win It” promotion, winning a 2019 Chevrolet Malibu for Cindy.

Cindy’s window to win occurred for 60 seconds after a TV timeout in the second period. As if that wasn’t improbable enough, the entirety of her minute window would occur shorthanded, thanks to a Johnny Gaudreau hooking penalty.

No matter for Rieder, who scored on a shorthanded breakaway.

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Sean Monahan collected a goal and an assist while Milan Lucic netted his first goal of the season as the host Calgary Flames scored four straight goals to net a comeback 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Goaltender David Rittich made 26 saves for the Flames, who have won three straight games and are on a 4-0-1 run since a six-game losing streak.

With the Flames trailing 1-0, Johnny Gaudreau’s power-play goal with 3:18 remaining in the opening frame tied the game. Shortly after the Sabres wasted a five-on-three power play, Gaudreau worked to the left faceoff dot and ripped a top-corner shot for his first goal in 11 games.

Tobias Rieder made his 400th NHL game more memorable when he tallied a short-handed goal to give the Flames a 2-1 edge just past the midway point of the second period. Derek Ryan forced a turnover at the Calgary blue line that sprung Rieder on a breakaway, which he finished by slipping the puck between Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark’s legs for his second goal of the season at 11:18 of the middle frame.

Monahan made it a 3-1 game with five minutes left in the second period. After leading the rush up ice, Monahan worked a give-and-go with Mikael Backlund and ended it with a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle.

Lucic then snapped a 27-game drought to make it a 4-1 affair. Lucic finished a three-way passing play that included Ryan and Dillon Dube to record the eventual game winner at 3:58 of the third.

To their credit, the Sabres pushed to the final buzzer. After Jake McCabe made it a 4-2 game with less than three minutes remaining, Jack Eichel scored on the power play with 47.4 seconds left on the clock. Eichel’s goal extended his point-scoring streak to 11 games, during which he’s collected 10 goals and 10 assists.

Sam Reinhart opened the scoring with Buffalo’s first shot on goal. Reinhart was in the slot when he redirected Rasmus Ristolainen’s point shot at the 3:29 mark for his 10th goal of the season.

Ullmark made 25 saves.

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Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames scored three power-play goals and a short-hander in defeating the host Dallas Stars 5-1 on Sunday.

Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist and Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund and Derek Ryan also scored for Calgary, which snapped a three-game winless streak and improved to 8-2-1 under interim coach Geoff Ward. Elias Lindholm added three assists and goaltender David Rittich made 26 saves while also being credited with his first assist of the season.

Denis Gurianov scored for Dallas and goalie Ben Bishop stopped 25 of 29 shots. The Stars are to 14-5-3 in their past 22 games against the Flames.

Calgary opened the scoring at 12:11 of the first period. Tkachuk and Lindholm sent the puck back and forth behind the Dallas net before Lindholm found Mangiapane open in the slot and his one-timer beat Bishop.

The Stars responded quickly, with Gurianov tying the score 38 seconds later by taking a pass from Justin Dowling and beating a defender down the boards on the right before cutting in front of the net and scoring past Rittich.

Monahan and Tkachuk scored power-play goals 1:53 apart in the second period as Calgary broke the 1-1 tie.

Tkachuk’s wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle at 12:28 of the period, off a pass from Lindholm, made it 2-1.

Monahan scored at 14:21, taking a pass from Tkachuk in the low slot and beating Bishop.

The goals came after hooking penalties against Dallas’ Corey Perry and Jamie Benn.

Backlund scored on a power-play goal at 10:21 of the third, finding his own rebound sitting in the crease and poking the puck into the net.

Ryan capped the scoring with a short-handed, empty-net goal at 17:56.

Dallas’ Tyler Seguin had his five-game point streak (four goals, three assists) snapped.

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BBUFFALO, N.Y. — Flames captain Mark Giordano was thoroughly impressed with how Calgary rallied rather than unraveled.

Following two-plus days of facing questions regarding the uncertain status of coach Bill Peters, the Flames showed no signs of being distracted with Elias Lindholm scoring on a wraparound 1:17 into overtime of a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

“It’s a four-game trip that’s had a lot of adversity,” Giordano said. “I think guys, what we did as players, we said to one another this is almost a way to get away from everything off the ice right now by playing games, practicing. And I thought we did a good job of that.”

Peters has been accused of using racist slurs against Nigerian-born player Akim Aliu 10 years ago while the two were in the minors. And Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour earlier Wednesday backed another former player’s allegation that Peters kicked and punched players on the bench during his previous four years coaching Carolina.

Following the game, Flames general manager Brad Treliving confirmed he received a letter of apology from Peters, in which the coach acknowledged using offensive language in dealing with Aliu. The letter was initially obtained and posted on Twitter during the third period by TSN, a Canadian sports cable network.

Without specifically referencing the words he used, Peters said his comments to Aliu were the source of both anger and disappointment. He added, the incident was made in a “moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values.”

Peters says he regretted the incident and apologizes to anyone negatively affected by it.

The letter was released while Peters is away from the team while the Flames and the NHL conduct an investigation into the matter.

Matthew Tkachuk scored 4:02 into the third period to force overtime by tying the game at 2 a little over two minutes after Victor Olofsson scored for Buffalo.

Tkachuk then set up Lindholm’s overtime goal as Calgary improved to 2-0-1 in its past three and closed a four-game road trip that began with a 5-0 loss at St. Louis.

“It’s huge. Obviously, a lot of things going on right now. We can only affect what’s going on out on the ice,” Lindholm said. “We got the two points at the end, and that’s all that matters.”

TJ Brodie also had a goal and assist, and David Rittich stopped 34 shots with associate coach Geoff Ward behind the bench.

Jimmy Vesey also scored for the Sabres who dropped to 2-8-3 in their past 13 — and after getting off to a 9-2-1 start to the season. Linus Ullmark made 26 saves.

“It’s definitely frustrating, the final result,” first-year Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said.

“We definitely had the chances to put it away after 2-1, and the inability to do that and then have a D-zone breakdown to allow them back into the game is really, really disappointing,” Krueger added. “It’s a painful situation that we have to manage and use in the right way.”

The game was decided when Tkachuk beat a Sabres defender to the puck deep in Buffalo’s zone and slid a pass behind the net to Lindholm.

Lindholm came out untouched at the right post and circled atop the crease before scoring inside the opposite post.

Brodie’s goal with 2:55 left in the opening period came in his second game two weeks after experiencing a frightening moment in practice when he began convulsing after falling to the ice. A series of neurological tests came back negative and the 29-year-old play-making defenceman was cleared to return in a 3-2 loss at Pittsburgh on Monday.

Despite the win, the Flames continued their offensive struggles in scoring two or fewer goals in regulation for the ninth consecutive game. It’s a stretch in which Calgary has been out-scored 30-12 and shut out three times.

NOTES: Sabres D Rasmus Dahlin is out indefinitely after sustaining a concussion in being elbowed in the face by Tampa Bay’s Erik Cernak in 5-2 loss Monday. … Calgary played its 17th road game, tying Minnesota for the most so far this season. … Sabres forward Marcus Johansson returned after missing seven games with an upper body injury.

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The Battle of Alberta finally gets underway for the 2019-20 season, and both teams are hungry for a win.

The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers reignite their decades-old rivalry in Edmonton on Friday, after each entered the short Christmas break with a loss on the road. The Flames were shut out 3-0 by the Minnesota Wild on Monday, while the Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Canucks in Vancouver.

Both teams are struggling to find the consistency they need to inch up the Western Conference standings.

Oilers head coach Dave Tippett had some harsh words for his crew following Monday’s loss.

“It’s the details of winning,” he said. “If you’re not willing to do them enough, you’re going to lose some games, and that’s what happened tonight.”

The Oilers held a 2-1 lead going into the third period with goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom, but gave up three unanswered goals to hand the victory to the Canucks.

It was Edmonton’s 13th game in 24 days, and Connor McDavid, the league’s top point-getter who was held to one assist in Monday’s affair, was looking forward to the few days off for Christmas.

“It’s been a tough stretch of games, honestly,” McDavid said. “Guys are tired, and this break comes at a good time.”

The Flames also needed the break, dropping four of their last five overall and finishing the stretch to the holiday with two games in two days on the road. They beat the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Sunday, but couldn’t muster a single goal against the Wild.

Flames forward Derek Ryan got the puck behind Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, but video review determined he kicked it into the net.

“Everyone plays back-to-backs,” said Cam Talbot, the Flames goaltender who faced 33 shots overall and saw his record drop to 3-7-0 in 11 games this season. “If you’re not feeling it, try to make the easy play, the smart play and get it deep.”

But the Flames aren’t getting consistent production from some of their top guys, like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Gaudreau and Monahan combined for 181 points last season but are on pace for 124 this season.

“We were trying to generate offense,” defenseman and team captain Mark Giordano said. “It seemed like (the Wild’s) back pressure was really good, and we couldn’t get pucks through like we should. So we’ve got to work on that, generate more at their net. We’ll take our break here and go from there.”

The NHL’s best power play will be facing one of the top penalty kills.

The Oilers are 29.8 percent effective on the man advantage, while the Flames rank third at 84.8 percent in killing penalties. The Oilers aren’t too far behind on the PK at 83 percent, while the Flames are in the middle of the pack on the power play at 19.7 percent.

Special teams will only get you so far, though.

When asked recently about his team’s success on the power play, Klefbom told the Edmonton Journal the Oilers have to be better at even strength.

“Obviously our power play has been really effective, but you can’t expect to score every game that way,” Klefbom said. “It’s been our strength … we’re in the top (seven) in PP and PK, but to be a consistent playoff team, going against a heavy team like a St. Louis, Boston, they’re so good five-on-five.”

Klefbom and the Oilers will have the fans behind them on Friday. The Canadian provincial rivals split the season series last year, 2-2, and Calgary holds the all-time regular-season edge at 119-101-18.

–Field Level Media

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Two weeks after collapsing on the ice during practice, Calgary Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie is back on the ice, capping his heroic return to hockey with a goal on Wednesday night.

Against the Buffalo Sabres — his second game since making his return — Brodie absolutely clapped one to open the scoring.

The 29-year-old suffered an apparent seizure on the ice and had to be taken off on a stretcher before being transported to hospital on November 14.

He managed to make a full recovery, allowing him to return to the ice and score his first goal of the season.

The Chatham, Ontario, native now has a goal to add to his eight assists through 23 games in 2019-20.

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SYDNEY, N.S. —It may not have been a slapshot from the point like her father, but Lauren MacInnis has finally found the back of the net.

MacInnis, the daughter of Al MacInnis of Port Hood, scored her first career NCAA goal last Friday with a wrist shot from the point for the Northeastern Huskies in an 11-0 victory over the Holy Cross Crusaders.

MacInnis, who was born in St. Louis, would later score her second goal of the game, while picking up an assist as well, to finish the game with three points.

Northeastern is currently first overall in the Hockey East standings with an 11-2-0 record.

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Over 500 years ago, a group led by Menno Simons in Northern Germany created the Christian denomination of the Mennonites. They were persecuted for their pacifism and Protestant connections, which forced them to flee several European countries. Today, Mennonites live all over the world, though many are still in areas where their ancestors settled, and have developed a culture of their own. Many have similar surnames and can trace their lineages back several generations, and have a fondness for fried and preserved foods. Most of all, they have become known as hard-working, honest people who have a strong sense of community.

These traits (aside from the fried dough) have made Mennonites top-notch athletes. They generally aren’t the biggest stars, but they are highly respected by their teammates and are invaluable to their teams. In the NHL, several Mennonites have made their mark throughout history, from setting records to having their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. As hockey continues to grow internationally each year, let’s take a moment and look at the stars who seem to avoid the spotlight. These are the 10 best Mennonites in NHL history.
10. Ray Neufeld

A relatively unknown player today, Neufeld was a promising star in the 1980s. Born in the Mennonite community of Winkler, Manitoba, he played for the nearby Flin Flon Bombers in the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL – the precursor to the WHL) in 1976. His best season in the WCHL came in 1978-79 as a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings, when he scored an incredible 102 points despite missing part of the season with broken ribs. The Hockey News ranked him as 1979’s ninth best draft prospect, but he wasn’t drafted until the fourth round (81st overall) by the Hartford Whalers.

Neufeld joined the Whalers full-time in 1982-83 after bouncing between the AHL and NHL for three seasons. In his rookie season, he broke out with 28 goals and 59 points, finding chemistry with Ron Francis. The young forward was soon a fan favourite in Hartford, and he always gave back, regularly tossing pucks into the stands after pre-game skates and he was involved in several charities in the area. After he scored the Whalers’ 1000th goal, it looked like he would be with the franchise for good.

However, in 1985, after getting off to the hottest start of his career (15 points in 16 games), the Whalers traded him to the Winnipeg Jets for Dave Babych. The veteran defenseman was immensely popular in the Jets’ dressing room, making it a tough adjustment for Neufeld. Along with the pressure to perform, a slow start, and not wanting to leave Hartford, Neufeld struggled in his home province and never again got close to his career-high 69 points posted in 1983-84. He was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1988-89 and retired in 1990.
9. Eric Fehr

Also hailing from Winkler, Manitoba, Fehr starred with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Brandon Wheat Kings from 2000 to 2005, putting up 277 points in 279 games. His offensive acumen made him a first-round selection in 2003 by the Washington Capitals. In his last season of junior, he won the Bobby Clarke Trophy for most points (111) and the Four Broncos Trophy as the WHL’s player of the year. He joined the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Hersey Bears the following season, helping them win the Calder Cup, with eight goals and eleven points in the playoffs.
Sharks center Eric Fehr

In the NHL, however, Fehr was relied on for his defensive game, becoming a top penalty killer with the Capitals. His best offensive season was in 2010, when he scored 21 goals and 39 points. In 2015, he signed a three-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins and was part of their 2016 Stanley Cup championship team, but injuries began to slow him down. He made brief appearances with the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild before joining the National League in Switzerland for the 2019-20 season.
8. James Reimer

The Arborg, Manitoba native began his professional career with the Toronto Marlies in 2008-09 after four seasons with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. A fourth-round pick by the Maple Leafs in 2006, he quickly became one of the brightest goaltending prospects in the system, winning the ECHL’s Kelly Cup with the South Carolina Sting Rays in 2008-09, as well as taking home the league’s playoff MVP award.

With the Maple Leafs, Reimer continued to shine, earning NHL Rookie of the Month in March, 2011. Although the Leafs missed the playoffs, Reimer was selected to the IIHF World Championship roster that season, where he had a 0.920 save percentage over four games. His crowning achievement with the franchise was in 2012-13, when he helped Toronto reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004. However, it ended in heartbreak, after he allowed four unanswered goals to blow a 4-1 lead in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins after the Leafs had been up three games to one.

After the fateful loss, he struggled to regain his form with the Leafs and in 2015-16, he was traded to the Sharks. The change of scenery did him well, and he posted an impressive 1.62 goals-against average over eight games, which helped him earn a new contract with the Florida Panthers, splitting duties with Roberto Luongo. Now seen as a solid backup with the ability to start for long stretches, he joined the Carolina Hurricanes for the 2019-20 season to help out Petr Mrazek.

Author’s note: No, we aren’t related, as far as I know.
7. Dustin Penner

Public opinion is split on Penner. On one hand, he was a dominant power forward who won two Stanley Cups. On the other, he was difficult to coach and is remembered as the last player to be successfully signed to an offer sheet. Still, there is no denying his talent and impact. Penner grew up in Winkler with Eric Fehr, but while the latter was flying in the WHL, the former was struggling to stick with any team. Eventually, he made a small college team in North Dakota, which helped him get a scholarship to attend the University of Maine.

It was there that Penner’s fortunes changed. With Maine, he won the Hockey East championship over Boston College in 2004, which earned him a spot on the NCAA All-Star Team. It was enough to catch the attention of the Anaheim Ducks, and they offered the undrafted free agent a three-year deal in May, 2004, at 22 years old. In his first full season in 2006-07, he scored 45 points, earning him a handful of Calder Trophy votes as one of the league’s best rookies, and helped the Ducks win their first Stanley Cup that spring. That’s when the Edmonton Oilers came calling.

In one of the most controversial moves of the last 15 years, Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe signed Penner to a $21.25 million offer sheet, which Ducks GM Brian Burke was unable to match. Penner initially showed promise in Edmonton, but soon was clashing regularly with coach Craig MacTavish, who publicly criticized Penner’s fitness, and by 2011, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. He won another Cup with the Kings in 2012, but was hardly a factor, scoring 37 points over three seasons. Anaheim signed him again in 2013, but he joined the Capitals before season’s end and was reunited with Fehr before retiring in 2014.
6. Robyn Regehr

Regehr has the unique distinction of being the only Brazilian to play in the NHL. Born to Mennonite missionaries working in Recife, he spent his early childhood in Indonesia before coming to Canada at about the age of seven. His family settled in the small Mennonite town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Circumstance made him comparatively late to join organized hockey, but he was a quick learner and by 15 years old, he was a first-round selection by the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Three years later, he was a first-round selection by the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

However, Regehr never played for the Avalanche, as he was traded to the Calgary Flames for Theoren Fleury and Chris Dingman in 1998-99, not long after winning a silver medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. That summer, Regehr suffered two broken legs in a car accident outside Saskatoon, which threatened to end his NHL career before it began. Yet four month later, he made his debut with the Flames, playing 57 games and scoring 12 points. That incredible accomplishment earned him a nomination for the Bill Masterton Trophy for his dedication to hockey, the youngest nominee in NHL history.

During his 15-year professional career, Regehr was one of the NHL’s best defensive defensemen, helping the Flames reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2004, the first time since 1989, and serving as an assistant captain for several years. He won a gold medal with Canada at the World Cup in 2004, then a silver medal at the World Championships in 2005. In 2011, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in a cap dump, then to the Los Angeles Kings in 2013, where he finally won a Stanley Cup in 2014. He retired the following season, playing 827 of his 1090 games with the Flames, ranked third in franchise history.
5. Dave Schultz

Mennonites are strict pacifists, so to see some become hockey enforcers seems ironic. Yet in the 1970s, there were few meaner players than Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz, who came from the Mennonite community of Waldheim, Saskatchewan. With the WCHL’s Swift Current Broncos, he scored 101 points in 92 games over two seasons, prompting the Philadelphia Flyers to draft him with a fifth-round pick in 1969. However, the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ had a rough-and-tumble style, so Schultz adapted, registering 356 penalty minutes (PIM) in just 67 games with the Salem Rebels in 1969-70, his first 300+ PIM season.

After two seasons in the AHL where he nearly hit 400 PIM each campaign, the Flyers brought Schultz aboard in 1972-73. As a rookie, he was the NHL’s most penalized player with 259 PIMs, and scored 21 points. The next season, he added nearly 100 more minutes, keeping his penalty minute title, along with scoring 20 goals as the Flyers crashed their way to their first Stanley Cup. Then, in 1974-75, he set an NHL record for most penalty minutes in a season with 472, and the Flyers repeated as Cup champions.

However, the career of an enforcer is generally a short one, and Schultz was no different. After being traded from the Flyers to the Kings, he struggled to establish himself as more than a declining fighter, retiring in 1980 after appearing briefly with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. Two years later, he penned an open letter to his son about his regrets at his style of play, recalling, “My (childhood) idol was Dave Keon, who won the Lady Byng Trophy for good conduct, and I believed I could turn the other cheek,” (from ‘Dave Schultz: A Letter to My Son About Violence’, The New York Times – Feb 7 1982). Despite his conscience, he was one of the best at his job and made the Flyers one of the toughest teams in hockey history.

4. Willi Plett

Plett was born in Asuncion, Paraguay, after his parents fled from Germany during World War II and where they joined a thriving Mennonite community. A year after Plett was born, however, his family moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where he started to play hockey at the age of 12. He was a natural athlete, who also played lacrosse in high school, and developed a style comparable to the modern power forward. After 14 points and 63 PIMs in 22 games with the St. Catherines Black Hawks, the Atlanta Flames drafted him 80th overall in 1975.

In 1975-76, Plett’s scoring punch and physicality helped the Central Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers win the Adams Cup. Then, in 1976-77, he won the NHL’s Calder Trophy, scoring 56 points in 64 games while racking up 123 penalty minutes. He quickly became one of the franchise’s early stars, setting records for most penalty minutes (288 – 1981-82), longest point streak (nine games – 1976-77 and 1977-78), and most goals by a right winger (38 – 1981-82) in a single season. He was also instrumental in the Flames reaching the 1981 Stanley Cup semi-finals, their highest finish at the time.

However, Plett began to feud with Flames coach Al MacNeil, which led to MacNeil’s firing and Plett being traded to the Minnesota North Stars. He fought with North Stars coach Bill Mahoney as well, demanding more ice time, but the result was more positive; he set a career-high in PIMs in 1983-84 with 316. His style was not easy on his body, and after several knee and shoulder injuries, he was traded to the New York Rangers in 1987, hen was placed on waivers and claimed by the Boston Bruins. He retired in 1988 with the NHL record (since broken) of 488 career playoff penalty minutes, and is 16th in career PIMs.
3. Jeff Friesen

Although Friesen was never the biggest star, he was a proven winner. Growing up in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, he excelled with the WHL’s Regina Pats, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1992-93 after scoring 45 goals and 83 points. The following season, he earned a spot on the Canadian World Junior U20 team as an 18-year-old, after scoring 118 points with the Pats, where he won a gold medal. His resume was enough for the San Jose Sharks to use their 11th overall selection on the talented sniper in 1994. He made his NHL debut in 1994-95, scoring 25 points in 48 games and was selected to the All-Rookie team.

Friesen won one more World Junior gold medal in 1995, then win a silver medal at the World Championship in 1996 and a gold medal in 1997, all before turning 21. Soon, he was one of the Shark’s top scorers, leading the team in points in 1997-98 and 1998-99. In the 2001 offseason, despite sitting third in all-time scoring with 350 points (although that has since dropped to seventh), he was traded with Steve Shields to the Anaheim Ducks for Teemu Selanne. His time on the West Coast was brief, though, as he was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2002-03, where he won a Stanley Cup that season, contributing three game-winning goals in the semi-finals.

In 2004, Friesen won another silver medal at the World Championships, but when the NHL resumed in 2005-06, he struggled with injuries and was shuffled from the Capitals, back to Anaheim, then to the Flames. After spending 2007-08 in the AHL, he tried out for the Sharks but failed to make the team. He decided to go to Germany where he joined the Eisbaeren Berlin, with whom he won the German League’s championship in 2011 before retiring.
2. Garry Unger

Mennonites have long been defined by their work ethic, and Unger is one of the hardest working players in NHL history. Born in Calgary, Alberta, Unger made a name for himself playing for the London Nationals of the Ontario Hockey Association, scoring 73 points in 48 games in 1966-67. The Toronto Maple Leafs gave him his first shot at the NHL, playing him in 15 games in 1967-68, but they decided to trade him mid-season to the Detroit Red Wings in a massive eight-player blockbuster that included Frank Mahovlich, Norm Ullman and Paul Henderson.

In Toronto, Unger had managed just two points but with the Red Wings, he emerged as a star, scoring 15 points in 13 games. Accompanied by his care-free style and good looks, he quickly became a fan favourite and one of the team’s most reliable and talented players. However, he and the team clashed with their incredibly strict coach, Ned Harkness. When Harkness was inexplicably promoted to general manager in 1970-71, he traded away nearly half the team due to past grudges. Among the trades was Unger, who was sent to the expansion St. Louis Blues for veteran Red Berenson.

On a team without a bona fide star, Unger rose to the occasion, becoming the heart and soul of the Blues. From 1971 to 1979, he never scored less than 30 goals in a season and led the team in scoring in all but three of those campaigns. Despite only playing eight seasons, he still sits fourth in all-time points (575) and goals (292). Unger also never missed a game while in St. Louis. From February 24, 1968, with the Red Wings until December 23, 1979 with the Atlanta Flames, Unger played 914 consecutive games, nearly 300 games more than the previous record holder.

Unger finished his career in 1988 after appearing with the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and even a brief stint in Britain. Although his record was eventually broken by Doug Jarvis’ 964 consecutive games, he will always be remembered as the original Iron Man.

1. Jonathan Toews

It’s no surprise that Toews tops our list; not only is he the most talented Mennonite to play in the NHL, but he’s arguably one of the most successful Canadian hockey players in the modern era. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Toews quickly demonstrated he had a talent not many others had, and at the 2003 WHL Bantam Draft, the Tri-City Americans drafted him first overall. However, he had other plans for his future, instead leaving for the esteemed hockey school Shattuck-Saint Mary’s in Minnesota, and later the University of North Dakota.

Although he took a less traditional Canadian path to reach the NHL, it never hindered Toews. He was selected to the Canadian U20 World Junior Team in 2005-06 and 2006-07 winning gold both years, and was selected third overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2006. In his second appearance at the World Juniors, he was one of the best in the tournament, scoring three shootout goals against the Americans to advance to the finals. He joined the Blackhawks the following year, scoring 54 points in his rookie season and was third in the Calder Trophy voting behind teammate Patrick Kane and Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom.

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Since the start of August, we’re counting down the number of days left until the regular season starts up again! Everyday until the start of the season, we’ll be talking about a Calgary Flames player whose number correlates with how many days there are left.

Last time we talked about a guy who may have been outshined by his brother at times. And by “at times” I mean basically all the time. Yes, we’re talking about #44 Rob Niedermayer.

Today, there is only 42 days left until the season starts! And that’s not even including pre-season. So really there’s less than a month until we can watch some Flames hockey again. But with 42 days left, let’s take a look at #42 Sergei Makarov.