The Heritage Classic will feature just the fifth venue to host the Battle of Alberta
Photo credit:Resolute [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
The Calgary Flames will visit the Edmonton Oilers for the first time this season on Sunday. Rather than play a game at Rogers Place, they’re headed a bit northeast of downtown Edmonton for the 2023 Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium.
The game will be the 260th regular season meeting between the two teams (295th if you include playoff games), and Commonwealth Stadium will become just the fifth venue to host a Battle of Alberta.
Here’s a quick rundown of the four buildings that have held Flames/Oilers clashes since 1980.
The Stampede Corral
The Edmonton Oilers joined the NHL in 1979 due to the World Hockey Association merger, and the Flames moved to Calgary from Atlanta the following year and took up shop at the old Stampede Corral.
The Flames hosted the Oilers for three seasons at the Corral, with the old barn hosting 10 games. The teams split the games evenly – four wins and two ties apiece – with the Flames slightly out-scoring the Oilers by a 43-39 margin in that span.
Phil Russell and Jim Peplinski played in all 10 Corral Battles, while Lanny McDonald led the Flames with eight goals and Guy Chouinard with 15 points. The Flames used three different goalies in those 10 games, with Don Edwards emerging as the best of the bunch of a pair of wins.
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Originally called Northlands Coliseum, the Oilers’ original arena was also called Edmonton Coliseum, SkyReach Centre and Rexall Place at various points.
The old Coliseum hosted 113 regular season Battles of Alberta between 1980 and 2016. The Flames went 50-51-9-3 in that span, capturing just shy of half of the available points in their visits north. The Oilers out-scored the Flames 373-357 in those 113 games.
Jarome Iginla played in 44 Battles at the Coliseum, and also led the Flames with 15 goals and 35 points in his visits there. Al MacInnis led the Flames with three game-winners in 38 appearances. Mike Vernon made 27 starts in Edmonton, but Miikka Kiprusoff edged him out for the lead with 15 wins.
The ‘Dome opened in 1983, in advance of the 1988 Winter Olympics, and remains the home of the Flames until the new building opens in 2027 (or so). The Saddledome has been variously labelled as Olympic, Canadian Airlines, Pengrowth and Scotiabank during its history.
The Flames have hosted 120 Battles of Alberta in the ‘Dome, posting a 70-42-7-1 record and out-scoring the Oilers by a 440-373 margin.
Iginla leads all Flames with 45 ‘Dome Battles. He shares the goal-scoring lead with MacInnis with 19 apiece, though MacInnis has the lead with 60 points (in 37 games). Theo Fleury scored the game-winning goal in five Saddledome Battles. Vernon has the lead with 31 starts and 19 wins in the ‘Dome crease, though Kiprusoff leads with a pair of shutouts.
Edmonton’s new building opened in 2016, and has hosted 16 Battles of Alberta thus far in the regular season. The Flames have gone 5-9-2 and been out-scored by the Oilers by a 52-39 margin.
Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau each appeared in 15 Rogers Place Battles, leading the Flames. Tkachuk also leads the Flames with 13 points in those games, though Andrew Mangiapane leads with six goals. Jacob Markstrom has made seven Rogers Place starts in Battles of Alberta, but has just a single win. David Rittich leads Flames goaltenders in wins at Rogers Place with three.
And yes, his last win with the Flames in Edmonton was the stick-flip shootout game.
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And finally, Commonwealth Stadium, in the open air, will host its first – and probably only – Battle of Alberta on Sunday night.
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