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'Small distraction': Mayor Jyoti Gondek reacts to a chorus of boos from Flames fans


It's not the mayor's  fault Johnny Hockey signed with Columbus, setting in motion an exodus of all-stars from the Calgary Flames, but Saturday night, it sounded as if a few thousand fans blamed her for it.

On a national broadcast ahead of puck drop on Saturday night, the Flames recognized several key members of the city’s South Asian community, including mayor Jyoti Gondek, who was received to a chorus of boos.

Thousands of fans booed the mayor as she walked to centre ice, and passed the Flames bench for a ceremonial puck drop.

 Pollster Marc Henry, president of Think HQ public affairs, booed the decision to showcase a mayor stumbling in the polls and recovering from a recall petition.

“Why on earth would you send the mayor, who's sitting at 30 per cent approval or less to be in front of 18,000 anonymous hockey fans, when you know in hockey, booing and cheering is part of the deal?” asked Henry.

“Whoever the staffer was who thought this was a good idea, ought to be fired because they are completely tone deaf,” added Henry.

“You just put your boss in a very, very vulnerable and embarrassing situation.”


Gondek on Monday reacted to the event, shifting the focus to the meaning of why she was there.

“What may have happened was a small distraction,” she said.

“And I think it's important for us to remember that there was a bigger community that was being honoured and that was the goal of that game. I really appreciated the players showing up before the game wearing the jerseys proudly.”

The Flames hosted their first-ever South Asian Celebration Game unveiling a unique logo for the event designed by a local artist Zoe Harveen Kaur Sihota.

The logo included a peacock, which represents beauty and grace in many South Asian cultures, and the shapes on top of the flaming C invoking South Asian architecture.

Henry says that Gondek has seen the lowest approval ratings of any mayor in the city’s history, and although he admits the boos were distasteful, he wasn’t surprised.

“I think that it is very much indicative of the mood in the city and the challenge for the mayor is it seems to have transcended specific policies,” said Henry.

“It's now become more about her. The only saving grace is that it wasn't the Stamps (Stampeders) home opener because football crowds are even tougher than a hockey crowd.”

Gondek plans to leave the boos behind to continue managing municipal affairs in a city that will miss the NHL playoffs for the second consecutive season in 2024.

“I will continue to focus on the work at hand and get the job done,” she said. Top Stories

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