Friday, April 27, 2007

2. Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers

This rivalry has less to do with interstellar warfare and is more about civic pride. With two cities of about the same size in Alberta, there was always going to be competition between the two, whether it be football or bull riding. But the rivalry is really about hockey (it's Canada, what else were you expecting). The Flames and Oilers comprise what is known in hockey circles as "The Battle of Alberta." When your games have their own nickname, you know you've got a real rivalry. While games between the two teams have cooled off a little in recent years, it's still a pretty big deal.

Why This is a Great Rivalry
When a game is more than just a game - when it's about civic, national or religious pride - it's a rivalry. And these two cities do not like each other and generally equate civic superiority with victories on the ice. During the years 1984-1990, one of these two teams represented the Campbell Conference in the Stanly Cup: Edmonton in 84, 85, 87, 88, 90 and Calgary in 86 and 89. Looking back at that now, it's pretty unbelievable - that two teams only a couple hours from one another, and that hated each other so much, were in the Stanley Cup for 7 straight years.

They say that a rivalry doesn't truly begin until both sides have won something. This clip shows the first time Calgary beat Edmonton in the playoffs - on Steve Smith's own goal in 1986 - that is when it became a true rivalry:

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