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Calgary, AB • Canada • 55 Years Old • Male
I thought I would write another blog on what is really important in life. Most of these players understand what is really important for the NHL. You see the players understand that no how many records they break, or how many goals they score, it doesn’t matter if there are no fans to watch them! I am going to share some stories that show how Calgary Flames players show they care about their fans. Now this is not a bragging blog, but what I have experienced with the Flames. I could have used many different players, but these are the most memorable ones. I would actually like to do a blog on other teams and what their players do for their fans - if you have good experiences, please pm me and maybe I can do a sequel to this blog.

Andrei Taratukhin
We were at the prospect camp in July when we met Andrei. He let me take a picture of Douglas and himself and another player named Adam Pardy, and later signed his shirt. Andrei made an effort to see us every single day that camp, to come and talk with Douglas. Now that may not seem like much, but to a nine year old that meant everything. It really won’t matter to Douglas how Andrei does this season, all that matters is that Andrei is a friend. Now with son, friends are very valuable. There can be no bigger complement to my son.

Rhett Warrener
I met Rhett a couple of years ago in the Phoenix airport. I recognized him while he was on his cell. Rhett sat with Douglas and I at the airport and talked to the both of us for two hours while we waited for the plane. Again, you may not think that is a big deal, but ever since then, Rhett says hello to us and spend some time with the family when he sees us. My family really doesn’t care about Rhett's stats, we just care about Rhett the person. If you have not met Rhett, you have really missed out; this man has a heart of gold Rhett taught us that players care. Does it get better than that?

Mikka Kiprusoff
We first met Mikka at the 2005 camp. Mikka was surrounded by fans as soon as he came in, it was quite the scene. Well, somehow I lost Douglas, and Mikka noticed my panicked state, so while he signing signatures in the mob, he started looking for a lost kid. Somehow Douglas got into the mob and at Kipper's feet. He started smiling and looked at me, and said could this be yours? You can never understand the feeling of losing your son until you experience it first hand. I will always be grateful for Kipper for finding Douglas. Kipper taught me that losing a kid is a universal fear.

None of these stories probably mean anything to the players, but that is exactly why I am doing a blog on them. The players do care about the fans. They matter a lot to Flames organization, and that is important to a 45 year old father who takes his 9 year old son to every pre-season camp. Now if this message in not received by every fan in all of the NHL cities, they are handing out the wrong message, because we should count and we do in Calgary. If more people know that players are willing to work with the fans, just maybe the fans will work more with the players. It really bothers me when I hear about how these players are spoiled and think they are better than anyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the players are very grateful to the fans and appreciate their support. Sure some fans will say hello and the player doesn’t quite respond the way the fan wants him to, that does not make every player in the league a bad person. Heck, that does not even make that player a bad person. Maybe they just had a bad day. Let's try to think of the other person also. Ah, the important things in life.

Filed Under:   nhlpa fans flames  
August 21, 2007 12:43 AM ET | Delete
Another great blog Flame. You just keep them coming! Your words ring true. Let's all remember that these guys are people just like me and you except they are excellent and in the 1 percentile at their jobs. Keep up the good work Flame!
August 21, 2007 12:58 AM ET | Delete
Great blog...it is certainly a good thing to see players still remember that they are people just like you and me. People that do little things for others can really impact a person's life, especially early on. Sometimes it's the littlest things that mean the most to people.
August 21, 2007 4:15 AM ET | Delete
Flames...Great blog...Alot of effort went into this. I hope all your Flame/Friends have a successful year. Again...excellent work!!
August 21, 2007 8:08 AM ET | Delete
Flames - great job as usual. Your vignette about your son is touching in so many ways. As a father, I completely understand the overwhelming terror of losing your child, even for an instant, and the equally overwhelming relief you feel when you see their little face looking up at you going, "what?" I am impressed and heartened by Kipper's reaction - you would hope that ALL athletes (indeed all humans) would act accordingly. However, he was in a media frenzy, surrounded by a throng of people, had signed 309 signatures and probably wanted nothing more than to just get out of there, BUT he was aware enough to notice your crazed look and actually DO something about it. Kudos to Kipper! I have a new level of respect for him that goes far beyond his immense talent. Great job by you.SYF
August 21, 2007 8:39 AM ET | Delete
August 21, 2007 8:44 AM ET | Delete
Opps! Tried deleting that first comment, won't work! Oh well, another fine blog from the master. I can certainly relate to the feeling of a lost and then found child. I think its only something a parent can understand. It is my opinion that most players are very accomodating to the fans and do what they can in their home city, as well as contribute and get involved with charities. It is the few that tarnish the majority.Again great blog FLAMSTR!
August 21, 2007 9:38 AM ET | Delete
Nice Blog Flamestr, reminds me of this years Bruins prospect camp, when Don Sweeney mentioned to the younger players, that the people took time out of their schedules to come see you and appreciate it and take the time to talk and thank them.
August 21, 2007 10:26 AM ET | Delete
I couldn't agree more, I remember Joe Nieuwendyk going through hoops to sign, frame and send a picture to my grandfather of him and Joe playing horseshoes at a family function. He didn't have to, he was just a class act. Great blog.
August 21, 2007 10:49 AM ET | Delete
Great blog. Here in San Jose there is no media pressure on the players and not a whole lot of media attention on the players at all for that matter. It is a good thing because you can go to everyday places in town and see the players out with their families doing everyday things. It reminds us that they are just like you and I except a lot better at hockey !
August 21, 2007 11:46 PM ET | Delete
Great Blog Flamestr. I love the one about Kipper and the Dougstr.
August 21, 2007 11:47 PM ET | Delete
Great Blog Flamstr. I especially like the story about Kipper and the Dougstr.
August 21, 2007 11:50 PM ET | Delete
Great post, I have met all 3 of those players and couldn't agree with you more.Warrener is a hoot to be around with at all times. Kipper has a strange sense of humor and drinks girly drinks.I am hoping Taratuhkin makes the team, he should, and he has his family here now, which should make him happy= Flames happy
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