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Misty Monahan Chokes Up Thanking Calgary Ahead of Return to Face Flames

Sean Monahan makes his return to the Saddledome to face the Calgary Flames for the first time since being traded to the Montreal Canadiens.



Sean Monahan got a bit misty while talking to reporters about his return to the Saddledome. Thursday night, he faces the Calgary Flames for the first time since being traded to the Montreal Canadiens along with a conditional first-round pick this summer in a salary-cap dump. 

The move allowed the Flames to pick up Nazem Kadri via free agency. A rejuvenated Monahan has established himself as a strong secondary scorer in Montreal, and is among the hottest names in NHL trade talk with his contract expiring at the end of the year. 

But none of that really mattered as the 28-year-old spoke on Thursday. 

Known for his publicly stoic and serious nature, Monahan is a man of few words at the best of times in media availabilities. 

He showed some raw emotion, struggling while trying not to choke on the words when asked what his message to Flames fans is. 

“Just ‘thank you,' ” Monahan said, eyes glassy, lips shaking, voice wavering. “You supported me from Day 1. I came in, 18 years old. It’s a special place and I really enjoyed my time here.”

Flames fans enjoyed him, too. He played nine seasons with the Calgary Flames, scoring 212 goals in 656 games for the franchise. The Flames took Monahan sixth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft and he filled a huge gap after the team traded away Hall of Fame sniper Jarome Iginla. He was tabbed early as a future Flames captain and it's possible he would have taken over the 'C' if he was healthy when new head coach Darryl Sutter arrived. 

He'll likely get a rousing ovation and none of the boos that former teammate Matthew Tkachuk received in his return on Tuesday. 

But his $6.375-million contract no longer matched with his production after multiple injuries plagued him the past few years. Monahan had both hips repaired surgically in back-to-back years. 

This summer, he'd heard rumblings about a potential NHL trade that would create much-needed salary-cap space for the Calgary Flames. But he didn't know how deep the slash of change would become. 

He watched Johnny Gaudreau depart via free agency, then as Matthew Tkachuk engineered a sign-and-trade by refusing a long-term deal in Calgary. Then it was his turn. 

“Mentally I was ready for it. It was a long time coming, and when it happened, it happened at, I guess, a good time," Monahan said. “I was here a long time and been through a lot. I think it was a tough decision but something they had to do. 

"I’m happy where I’m at now. It’s a good change. I needed a fresh start. I’m really enjoying my time. I started to feel good again and I had a fresh opportunity and a new start.”

The new start resulting in new numbers means Monahan might be on the move again at the trade deadline. 

But first he'll re-live some old memories at the Saddledome. 

"There's so many. I spent almost half my life here," Monahan said. "The relationships you build with teammates, within the organization and in the community. Those are memories and things that I’ll never forget.”

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