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Florida Homecoming A Chance To “Turn The Page” For Flames’ Huberdeau, Weegar

After a massive trade this summer yanked Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar out of Florida, they return as Calgary Flames



The Homecoming hasn’t fully hit Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau yet. 

But the emotion was written all over teammate MacKenzie Weegar’s face. 

The two former Florida Panthers return to the place they called home for about a decade. Saturday’s game in Sunrise is a big one. 

After setting franchise records and thrilling the fans, Huberdeau should get a standing ovation. But he’s not so sure. 

“I might get booed,” he joked while holding court at the practice rink

Can’t imagine that happening. 

“I gave everything I had here, so we’ll see. That was 10 years of my life, my career. It was home for me so hopefully I get a good ovation.”

That’s when the tears may come. Surrounded by his new Calgary Flames teammates in a place he was worshipped until a surprising late-night call came to notify him of the blockbuster summer trade. 

“It’s probably more tomorrow it’s going to be more emotional,” Huberdeau said. “It’s probably going to get to me a little bit.”

Same goes for Weegar, the defenceman who joined Huberdeau in the deal for Flames stud Matthew Tkachuk

“It’s more just weird emotions,” Weegar said, looking much less comfortable at the table. 

He said going through different doors and suiting up in the visitors locker-room will feel a bit surreal. Weegar is looking forward to getting through it and moving on. It’s like getting closure on a long-term relationship. After getting dumped. 

“I think when we play this game and we thank everybody and we get the salute, maybe a couple of boos … I have no idea what the reception is gonna be like,” Weegar said. “I think at the end of the day, when the game’s done, it’s the end of the chapter, which is kind of the most emotional part of it.”

There’s that word again. Boos. It seems unfathomable given how important these two guys were to a franchise that won the Presidents’ Trophy last year as the top regular-season team. 

“I think I made one comment. I don’t even know,” Weegar said, shifting. “I’m not going to get into it. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.”

We’ll find out a lot of things tomorrow.

The game itself is a huge test for the Calgary Flames, who have lost eight out of their last 10 games after a 5-1 start. It’s another chance for Huberdeau to show that he’s as elite as Tkachuk, as different as their styles are. 

Tkachuk is off to a hot start with the Panthers. Huberdeau has struggled to find his game in a new city with a demanding coach who has a very different system. 

“It’s different. Matthew wanted to get out of there,” Huberdeau said. “Us, we kind of got surprised by it. I think this game is important. Obviously, I want to play well and kind of show them what I can do. 

“After that you kind of turn the page.”

Huberdeau said that a lot. So did Weegar. The trade happened a while ago but the date has been circled since then. 

“You look at Jonathan. That was an emotional time for him. I think that’s why he had a hard time early,” said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “He wasn’t expecting to be traded out of Florida. So I think that was hard for him. Now his game is where you want it to be but that takes time. 

“Matthew made that choice and he was ready for it. So he jumped right in. Good players do that.”

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