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Coleman Set for Playoff Homecoming with Flames

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Calgary Flames Blake Coleman scored his second goal of the season

No word on what Calgary Flames winger Blake Coleman plans to post anything on the wall in the visitors’ room at the American Airlines Center in Dallas tonight.

Traditionally, players offer a reward for teammates who score winning goals against their previous teams. In this scenario, Coleman never played for the Stars, but it’s the team he grew up cheering for. It’s the one that drew him to the sport that gave him a career he loves.

As he faces them in Dallas for the first time in the NHL playoffs, maybe he’ll stick a photo up, rather than a dollar amount to motivate his Calgary Flames colleagues.

His late grandmother, Marie, introduced a young Coleman to hockey with her season tickets at the old Reunion Arena after the Stars were moved from Minnesota.

The 30-year-old played against the Stars in the 2020 Stanley Cup final but that was under the pandemic bubble with no fans. In Dallas, with plenty of friends and family planning to be there, Marie will be top of mind.

“She always is, but when you’re at home, it hits a little different,” Coleman said after Saturday’s morning skate. “Obviously, I would have loved to have shared this with her, but I know she’s going to be watching. She’s such a big part of my journey and I know we’re sharing this in a different way tonight.”

Coleman’s Hockey Journey Rooted in Texas

When the Stars landed in Texas, efforts were made to expand the grassroots of the game in the Lone Star State.

“Obviously, Dallas came in right around the time I was born. The fanbase really grew quickly here and the amount of ice rinks grew quickly,” Coleman said. “Thankfully, we had a lot of competitive players start playing around my age – some of which played in the NHL, as well. It’s cool to see the game and how much it’s grown here. Obviously, it’s a passionate fanbase, so it’s fun to see it in person.”

It took dedicated parents and grandparents to allow kids to take advantage of the growing game back then.

In Coleman’s case, his mom and grandmother made sure he got to Stars games for inspiration, and to whatever lessons, practices and games he played himself as a youngster.

“To be in Texas at that time, somebody had to be willing to introduce you to the game. And somebody had to be willing to drive you 45 minutes to practice and go to 6 a.m. skates before school,” Coleman said. “The sacrifices they made are certainly the reason that I had the opportunity to be where I am.”

“Special” to Compete in Stanley Cup Playoffs

A big fan of Joe Nieuwendyk and Mike Modano in those days, Coleman dreamed of hoisting the Stanley Cup. He’s now done that twice – the past two summers as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. With a 1-1 tie in the series heading into Game 3, there’s a long way to go. But Coleman is hoping that can happen again with the Calgary Flames team he joined as a free agent last summer.

“It’s still not lost on my how special it is to be competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And how many kids dream of being on this stage,” he said.

The series has been a battle. Winning the opener 1-0, the Calgary Flames fell 2-0 in Game 2. It’s featured bad blood, threatening comments, and lots of physicality. Through it all, the Flames remain confident.

In Game 3, Coleman gets to play on the sport’s biggest stage in front of some of his longest supporters, in the place that launched his love of the game.

“It’s exciting,” Coleman said.  “Obviously, I’ll have a lot of support in the building. I’m sure there will be scattered red jerseys around here.

“I’m excited and think it’s going to be a fun atmosphere to play in and I think we’re all ready to get going.”

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