Many years ago I used to play ice hockey in Oxford, for the the Oxford City Stars, and I have thought of making a trip to see the Calgary Flames play at the Saddledome every time we have visited Canmore. Calgary is only an hour away from Canmore and finally, after 10 years of thinking about it, we actually made the trip to watch a real live NHL hockey game – Calgary Flames vs. Montreal Canadiens!
We had the cheap seats, way up at the top of the stadium, but at least we had a good unobstructed view – almost in plan from directly above – of the rink. And we were seated at centre ice too. The Saddledome seats nearly twenty thousand people. A fair bit bigger than your average UK rink. Tickets can be super expensive too. While our seats were $65 each we could have spent around $500 to get seats in the first rink side level. This would have been good to be close to the action, hockey stars, and fights (there were three), but it was just way too much cash for us.
The atmosphere was great. Everyone we met, from both sides of supporters, was super friendly. It’s a great night/day out. Highly recommended, and entertaining for a whole family. There’s the typical North American fast food on offer all around the stadium to make a complete event of it. But stay clear of the NHL merchandise, a Calgary Flames jersey will set you back nearly $300. I was tempted but managed to resist.
Aside: the booking experience was shockingly bad! Laetitia and I spent an impossibly frustrating and long time on the phone trying to book tickets. First the Saddledome only takes bookings for season ticket holders so they passed us on to their booking partner, Ticket Master. What a joke! It was so bad it could only have been a joke. But it wasn’t a joke, it was real. Who knows how much that phone call will cost! We were on the phone for over half an hour trying to get the stupid voice recognition system to understand us. Laetitia even tried putting on a false Canadian accent to make progress. A total waste of time. So here’s the big tip for anyone unlucky enough to have to experience this awful service for themselves… After another call to the Saddledome they told us that one simply has to say “Agent” to the voice recognition system and you actually get to speak to a real person. So back on with Ticket Master we spoke to an agent. This was much better – we actually got our tickets – but it was still really tough work. North American customer service is not at all what they like us to think it is!
…and for those who might be interested here’s a shot of the Oxford City Stars. I wonder which one is me?