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James Neal learns the realities of playing in Calgary

A common trope in the NHL – any professional league, really – is the “welcome to the NHL” moment.

The phrase generally refers to the moment of awe when a rookie realizes that, despite playing hockey nearly every day since they were infants, the NHL isn’t hockey as they’ve ever experienced it before. Some say that their moment was being on the receiving end of a big hit, or perhaps their first time actually putting on a jersey.

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Let’s extend that concept to our beloved city of Calgary.

There are hundreds of unique things about this city that you can’t experience anywhere else in the world, but there’s really no better “welcome to Calgary” moment than experiencing the sudden and extreme shifts in weather. Anyone who has lived here for a few years has definitely seen violent summer hailstorms, chinook winds, -40 temperatures, summer changing into winter then changing back to summer in the span of a week, and every random event in between.

Well today, new Flames forward James Neal had his “welcome to Calgary” moment when he, like the rest of us, opened his door to 25 centimetres of snow that had been dumped here overnight.

This comes to us from former Flames defenceman Mike Commodore. Known for his red afro and his role in the 2003-04 season, he’s a friend of Neal’s and occasionally acts as his online conduit.

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Commodore, who has become a hockey Twitter celebrity for his hatred of Mike Babcock and his #Insiderrr information, was one of the first to break the news (in his own unique style) of the Real Deal’s arrival in Cowtown, probably because he was (or at least presents himself as) one of the people who helped convince him to sign with the Flames.

Commodore’s pitch might’ve forgotten something important. Today, the Twitter-savvy ex-defenceman passed on a message from the Twitter-silent Flames forward, who learned a lot about the local weather:

Sorry James, but this is how it is, gotta get used to it. If it’s any consolation, my weather app says it will be sunny and slightly above zero degrees tomorrow (maybe).