Michael Stone has been ride or die with the Calgary Flames for three quarters of a decade.
The joke among hockey scribblers was that Michael Stone was inevitable.
Looks like the Calgary Flames believed that, too. Ahead of this week’s development camp, the Flames announced Stone’s retirement from the NHL while simultaneously sharing that he’d play a role in that growth of the team’s prospects – joining Ray Edwards, Martin Gelinas, Darren Rommerdahl, Rebecca Johnston, Danielle Fujita and Rick Davis as a member of the Flames player development team.
That group is front and centre at WinSport this week with nearly 40 prospects taking the ice as part of the franchise’s annual summer development camp. Stone is working with the team’s young defencemen.
“It has meant a lot. I’m happy to be able to continue my time in this organization. I think it’s an awesome place to be – the city and the team, I have nothing but good things to say,” Stone told Flames TV’s Brendan Parker this week. “I’m happy to be continuing it, just in a different role.”
Stone has a young family and had repeatedly declared it was Calgary or bust the past few NHL seasons. But it was getting harder to play the waiting game every year, and the opportunity for Stone, wife Michelle and kids Jolie, Wyatt and Rhett to remain in Calgary and continue to be involved with the Flames made the decision to retire as a player more palatable.
Known for a lethal slapshot along with his resiliency and determination, Stone will have plenty to pass on to the draft picks like Jeremie Poirier (who’s attending camp but not participating in on-ice sessions), Yan Kuznetsov, 2023 second-round pick Etienne Morin, Jake Boltmann and Jarrod Gourley, along with tryout invitees Callum Chisholm, Charles Cote, Mikael Diotte, Tyson Galloway, Quinn Mantei, John Prokop and Donovan McCoy.
“I’m excited to learn and gain some new experiences in a different capacity in the NHL,” Stone said. “I’m looking forward to working with the young defencemen and help them achieve their ultimate goal of playing with the Calgary Flames.”
Development camp wraps up on Saturday, July 8, with all players hitting the ice at 10 a.m. for a skills session before a three-on-three scrimmage from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.