Puck drops on NHL season this Saturday
Published Friday, January 18, 2013 5:40AM MST
Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 6:25PM MST
NHL teams around the league are getting ready to welcome fans back to the game after a prolonged lockout.
The shortened season begins on Saturday night and the Flames will play their first game on Sunday against San Jose.
Like other teams in the league, the Flames are also offering a few incentives to encourage fans to buy tickets and come out and cheer on the team.
For the first two games of the season, food and merchandise at the game will be half-price and the 50/50 draw is guaranteed to be a whopping $100,000.
On opening night, there will also be player introductions and a give-away of 75 autographed jerseys.
The team will give more prizes away during the game and fans will be treated to an autographed game used stick giveaway at the end of the night.
Head coach Bob Hartley says the team will need to prove themselves quickly in the shortened season, but believes they will be up to the challenge.
"We had plenty of time to get ready so we had a good plan and the players came in. We have to give them credit - they came in ready. They came in in great shape. We've had some great working days."
Fans gathered at a special tailgate party on Friday and many are excited to get the season started.
"I'm just glad to see it back. Obviously it was a long drawn out winter, but still exciting to hear them back and I can't want for Sunday," said Frankie Kohut.
"I was pretty excited, we got an email right away cause we're on the wait list for season tickets and we bought up a 24 game pack as soon as we could," said Naomi Brown.
"Oh, the excitement, the people, everyone really gets into it. Calgary's a great city so it's wonderful for that," said Toby Poloway.
Eager fans have been showing up at training camp sessions and only about 100 people out of 15,000 gave up their season tickets during the lockout.
There are only about 150 to 200 tickets left for the home opener and more will be made available on Sunday morning ahead of the 4 p.m. puck drop.