The Calgary Flames’ 2022-23 season is just days away, and the preseason on-ice team is starting to look more and more like the one they’ll be launching on Opening Night. The team will start the season at home against the Colorado Avalanche on October 13, and eight of the next nine games will be played at Scotiabank’s Saddleback Stadium.
While there’s nothing quite like a C of Red game on the NHL’s oldest arena, indulging in a Pocket Dawg and a Dome beer or two, being on the road for a few days with the Flames can be especially exciting, in a different Catch them on stage.
As with every regular season, the Flames will play 41 of 82 games on the road, some better than others. What is a good road trip? Here are our thoughts:
- The ideal weekend road trip: Holidays are precious, so it is best to take as little time as possible.
- Warm weather is better than cold: Calgary has a lot going for it, but after a while you catch a cold. Going to a warm place to play a game is a nice break in the winter.
- Optimize the number of games to capture: The more games you can play on the road, the better.
- Ability to capture different sports at the same time: Of course, it’s even better if you can turn it into a full sports trip with the chance to watch a football or basketball game.
Without further ado, here are the top sports trips for the Flames for the 2022-23 season. We’ll start with cuts and honorable mentions, then move on to road trips that promise rich experiences.
no successful trip
Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens (December 10-12, Saturday-Monday)
While it’s always fun to watch at Scotiabank Arena and Centre Bell, Eastern Canada leaves a lot to be desired in mid-December. While the Raptors do host the Houston Rockets on Dec. 9, the six-hour drive from Toronto to Montreal one way, regardless of weather or traffic, makes the trip particularly difficult to execute.
Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues (January 8-10, Sunday-Tuesday)
Same with Toronto and Montreal, Chicago and St. Petersburg. Luis in mid-January is a dull affair. The benefit of the trip is that the Chicago Bulls play the Utah Jazz on Jan. 7, and the Chicago Bears play the Minnesota Vikings on the 8th. Ideally, if the Bears game is at 11am, you can go straight to the Eagles game at the United Center from there and have a full game.
However, the added 4:46 drive through the American Midwest is a scenic country that hardly ever travels anywhere else.
Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators (February 11-13, Saturday-Monday)
Again, like the other two, the weather is a major factor in this one. Add to that having to see the Sabres and Senators, and having to drive between the two cities in mid-February, and it’s almost untenable. The only saving grace is that you can add a pit stop in Toronto on the 12th and catch the Raptors against the Detroit Pistons at Scotiabank Arena.
New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, and Boston Bruins (Nov. 7, 8, 10, Mon-Thu)
It’s sneakily exciting. Not only do you catch three Flames games in four days, but you also have a chance to catch two more. The New York Jets play the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 6, and the New York Knicks play the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 9. All arenas in NY/NJ are less than an hour apart and there are many train or car options.
It then takes 5 hours from New York to Boston by car or train. not too far.
The downside is twofold. For one, the game spans most of the week, which means you’ll need at least four vacations to get the job done. On top of that, Memorial Day (Veterans Day in the US) is Day 11, and you end up on the wrong side of the holiday weekend. However, given the number of sports offered that week, it wasn’t the worst option.
Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins (November 21-23, Monday-Wednesday)
This result is slightly better than the trip to New York in November.It only has two flame games, but both should be fun games, one of them being Sidney Crosby and
Johnny Goldrow Toughness in another. Coupled with the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Cincinnati Bengals on the 20th, the Philadelphia 76ers against the Brooklyn Nets on the 22nd.
Aside from the weather and three working days plus travel, the downside is the commute. You need to fly to Pittsburgh for a soccer game on Sunday, then drive to Philadelphia on Monday for a hockey game. Then stay in Philadelphia to play basketball on Tuesday, then drive back to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to play hockey. 10 hours of driving is far from ideal.
Sure, if it’s you and your friends on a sporty road trip with good tunes and good company, it’s a very manageable trip, but there are better options from a utility and gas price point of view.
A flame road trip worth your time
#5: Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks (March 20-21, Monday-Tuesday)
In fifth place is the classic California road trip. Fly out on Friday, Disney parks or the beach on Saturday, and the Los Angeles Lakers play the Orlando Magic at Staples Center on Sunday night. The Flames then play the Kings on Monday and the Ducks on Tuesday.
There are direct flights to and from Los Angeles, which makes this trip easier to and from, plus you can go somewhere warm in the middle of winter. The driving distance between Los Angeles and Anaheim is short (despite the traffic), and there is an option to go to Disneyland. Kids will love it!
The only downside is that the two Flames games are on Monday and Tuesday nights, which means you pretty much have to take at least three days off.
#4: Tampa Bay Chargers, Florida Panthers (November 17, 19, Thursday-Saturday)
In mid-November, there are worse places than South Florida. The Flames will face two teams expected to rank among the league’s best teams this year, also facing Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett for the first time this season.
Take part in the 16th basketball game between the Orlando Magic and the Minnesota Timberwolves and you’ll have a great sports trip.
On the downside, if you want to play all three races, you basically have to fly in from Calgary on a Tuesday, which means it takes four business days plus the weekend. Again, there are not many sports you can play compared to other options. That said, this is Miami, Orlando, and Tampa Bay, all cities with a lot to do. Combine that with the fact that Disney World and all the associated parks are there, and it makes for a really fun weekend anyway.
You can definitely do worse than this trip.
#3: San Jose Sharks (x2), Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks (Dec. 18-23) (Sun-Fri)
It’s the highlight of a sports weekend — or, to be more precise, almost an entire sports week. The good news is that it’s a week before Christmas, so it might be slightly easier to sneak away when other people’s brains are also thinking about gifts under the tree.
The Flames will take on the Sharks on Dec. 18 in San Jose. However, the Flames do play San Jose on the 20th in two days, so you can choose to play that game, or head to Oakland and catch the Raiders against the New England Patriots.
Then the next day, on the 19th, the Sacramento Kings took on the Charlotte Hornets at night, this time driving from door to door in less than two hours. Then return to San Jose on the 20th for Game 2 with the Flames.
The next day, Dec. 21, is a big drive to Los Angeles, and if you want to take the more scenic route down the coast, you’ll need to drive five and a half hours or more on the freeway. If you’re excited about that, the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Charlotte Hornets that night.
The 22nd is a free day in Los Angeles to hit the beach or one of the Disney parks before heading to the Flames and Kings at 7:00pm local time.
Finally, take a quick hop down the freeway to Anaheim to watch the flames and ducks at the Honda Center. You could also catch the Los Angeles Lakers against Charlotte that night in Los Angeles, but it’s up to you.
Up to four hockey games and at least six games in six days is a huge adventure. It’s definitely a packed trip, but if you want to go all out, there’s no better way.
#2: Seattle Kraken (Friday, January 27)
This is an off-site option. It’s just a hockey game, but it offers the best chance to watch the flames while missing the least amount of work. Highest reward weekend option.
Due to flights, please leave work Friday afternoon to watch the game at 8:00 pm MST (7:00 pm local time). Kraken seems like a very winnable game for the Flames, which is a nice bonus.
From there, head down the coast to Portland, Oregon, to catch the Portland Trail Blazers against Canada’s Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. It’s a very manageable two hour and forty minute drive, giving you plenty of time to see Seattle in the morning and then head to Portland in the evening.
Spend the day in Portland on Sunday, then drive back to Seattle, then drive home that night and work the next morning. Reasonable flying cost and distance, two high-quality races, and better weather than Calgary, great value for money.
#1: Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes (Nov. 25-26) (Fri-Sat)
This is a classic flame tour. It lands in a warm(ish) part of the continent on a weekend in November, just over a four-hour drive between the two cities. Also, on Nov. 27, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos played a football game in Charlotte to cap off an exciting weekend on the go.
While it takes a few flights to fly from Calgary to Washington, the city itself is great, and there are plenty of political buffs, foodies, sports fans, and more to check out. Combined with being able to see Alexander Ovechkin in Washington and battling storm surge in Raleigh, it would be a great trip.
This is the only real weekend trip the Flames have this year, and it promises to be a good one.
Just can’t wait to hit the road again
Whether you end up wanting to go to Washington and Raleigh for a sports weekend, take a huge trip to California for Christmas, or somewhere else, there’s something special about catching the flames on the road. Whether it’s this year or next year, it’s worth taking a few friends on an adventure to bring the magic of the Red C to another city.