Bure vs. Flames

Top Moments in the Vancouver and Calgary sports rivalry

VANCOUVER, BC – Everyone knows classic rivalries like the Yankees and the Red Sox, or Barcelona and Real Madrid; but a rivalry much closer to home is Vancouver against Calgary. The two cities have a history of competition against each other, notably in the NHL (Canucks and Flames) and CFL (Lions and Stampeders), but also in soccer, lacrosse, and collegiate sports.

As Vancouver Whitecaps FC head to Spruce Meadows to face the newly formed Cavalry FC in the Canadian Championship, a new chapter has been unlocked in the rivalry.

Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable clashes on either side of the Rockies.

The Brawl

One of the now infamous battles between Calgary and Vancouver came in a 2014 regular season NHL game, where a full line brawl broke out at puck drop.

Bob Hartley, then Flames head coach, started his fourth line with all the ‘heavy hitters’ and former Canucks head coach, John Tortorella, felt that he had to do the same to protect his players. The puck barely hit the ice before the gloves came off and words were passed on the bench.

The game got underway once again with all ten starting players in the box, but Tortorella was not finished. In the first intermission, the Canucks coach tried to get into the visiting team’s locker room to let them know exactly how he felt before players and staff stepped in.

The Canucks came away with a 3-2 shootout win with eight players being ejected from the game.

The Flutie Catch

In the 1994 CFL West Division Final, the Lions were big underdogs against the Stampeders.

A snowy night in Alberta saw the Stamps up by five points as the Lions embarked on one more drive.

On the final play, Darren Flutie caught the ball in the end zone with no time left for the comeback victory and a trip to the Grey Cup, where they would claim the championship at BC Place. To boot, Darren defeated his brother Doug Flutie, the quarterback for Calgary. 

Save of the Century

It was the Flames and the Canucks going head-to-head in the quarterfinals of the 1994 Stanley Cup playoff race, taking it all the way to game seven. At the end of regulation, the game was all tied up at three.

Kirk McLean stood strong in Vancouver’s net but a Flames breakaway looked like the Canucks’ playoff run would come to an end. Theo Fleury led the 3-on-1 charge, passing it off for Robert Reichel coming down the other side for a one timer as McLean threw his body to protect the net.

As the goal light went off and Flames fans erupted in the Saddledome, Captain Kirk had fooled everyone with his wonder-of-a-toe-save in what people now say is a ‘save of the century’ contender. Canucks right winger Pavel Bure finished the job with a double OT winning goal as the Canucks went on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Raining on Calgary’s Parade

At the turn of the century, Calgary was set to host the 88th Grey Cup and the hometown Stampeders were favourites to take the crown on their home turf after a league-best record.

That was until the 2000 CFL West Division final. The Stamps were expected to beat up on the ‘inexperienced’ BC Lions at McMahon Stadium. But by halftime, BC was up 24-11 under the leadership of quarterback Damon Allen, while Calgary starting QB and future Leo Dave Dickenson was removed from the game because of injury.

The Lions went on to upset the Stamps 37-23 and advance to win their fourth Grey Cup.

The defeated Stamps, meanwhile, had to clear out their lockers.

The OT heartbreaker

The Canucks and Flames would meet in the 2004 NHL playoffs in an epic seven game series.

It came down to the bitter end as the Flames were up 2-1 with seconds remaining. After the Flames missed the empty net, Matt Cooke came through with a clutch goal at the other end to beat the buzzer and send the game to overtime.

It was not to be for the Canucks though, as Martin Gelinas won it for the Flames in overtime as they went on to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Give this one to Calgary

Heading to lacrosse, Calgary’s 2017 home-opener had an impressive goal by Roughnecks’ defender Zach Currier in what some would call his signature move. Currier came running down the box, beating the Stealth defender before leaping through the air and dunking the ball behind goalie Brodie MacDonald.

Rivalries. What would sports be without them? Make sure to be a part of the newest chapter between Whitecaps FC and Cavalry FC. Watch the first leg OneSoccer on Wednesday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m. PT, and get your tickets for the second leg at BC Place on Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. PT.