In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, the arena deal between the Calgary Flames owners and the city has been officially terminated. In other news, two additional Flames games have been postponed later on this month. Meanwhile, prospect Matthew Coronato spoke on his brief World Junior experience. Last but not least, the team was recently forced to call up goaltending prospect Dustin Wolf this past week, though he never saw any game action.
Arena Deal Officially Terminated
Though Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek said last week a deal between the city and the Flames owners had been nixed, it was made official on Monday afternoon. It is both a frustrating and unfortunate turn of events given that construction on the new building was set to begin early this year; however, the two sides were unable to agree on certain costs that led to the deal getting called off. (from ‘CBC News: Calgary’s new arena deal officially terminated’, CBC, 01/03/22)
The good news here is that city council is set to discuss this situation later on this week. While a new agreement may not be made right away, it seems likely that at some point the two sides will figure something out given how close they were to getting started on a new building. For the time being, the Flames will continue to play out of the Saddledome.
More Games Postponed
After having eight games postponed in the month of December, Flames fans were hopeful that the remainder of the schedule would stay the same for the 2021-22 season. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case, as two games set to be played on Jan. 11 vs. the New York Islanders as well as Jan. 15 vs. the Vegas Golden Knights have been postponed.
These postponements are due to provincial and federal COVID mandates, which would result in no fans being in attendance at the games. The hope is that things can slowly begin opening up again in February, where many of these postponed games are likely to be rescheduled over what was supposed to be a break for the Winter Olympics.
Coronato Discusses World Junior Experience
Coronato was set to have a big role at the 2022 World Juniors, as the American-born 19-year-old who was taken 13th overall at the 2021 Draft was viewed by all as one of the Team USA’s top forwards. Unfortunately, him and his teammates were able to suit up in just one game due to the tournament being cancelled. While many would be angered by the decision to cancel the tournament, Coronato is taking a glass-half-full approach. (from ‘Wes Gilbertson: Flames prospect Coronato ‘thankful’ for abbreviated world-junior experience, hopeful for another chance’, Calgary Sun, 01/02/22)
“I think about how there are a couple guys that were probably going to be on our team that didn’t even get to go to camp because they got COVID before,” Coronato said. “I got that chance to play one game in the USA jersey. I obviously wanted more, but I did get the one game, which I’m really happy about.
“That was my first chance to wear the jersey and play for Team USA. So the whole time I was there, I was just incredibly honoured and grateful to have the chance. It was a really fun and special group of guys, so I’m really thankful that I was able to be a part of it. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t finish.”
There has been talk that the World Juniors may be rescheduled in June or July, which would be great for Coronato and all the other players who had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taken away from them. For Flames fans, it would give them a chance to watch one of their teams’ top prospects in action at the national level.
Dustin Wolf Briefly Recalled
Flames fans went abuzz this past week when it was announced that the team had recalled Wolf from the American Hockey League (AHL). Some believed this meant that they would get to see the 20-year-old, who owns a 1.79 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage during his rookie season, get his first action at the NHL level.
Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case, as he was instead used in backup role to Jacob Markstrom for just one game due to Dan Vladar being on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. Wolf has since been returned to the AHL, where he will continue to work on his game. Given how well he has performed throughout his junior hockey career and now as a pro at the AHL level, he may not be all to far away from becoming a regular on the Flames roster, though it won’t likely happen this season.
Up Next for the Flames
Since returning from the NHL stoppage, the Flames have won both of their games against the Seattle Kraken and Chicago Blackhawks. Continuing their short winning streak will be no easy task, as they are set to take on three of the best teams in the league this week in the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes. It will be a huge test for a Flames team who is much improved after an ugly 2020-21 campaign.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.