Calgary Hitmen Tickets
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Calgary Hitmen vs. Brandon Wheat Kings
Feb 22 2017
Lethbridge Hurricanes vs. Calgary Hitmen
Mar 11 2017
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The Calgary Hitmen
They are a junior ice hockey team based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada playing in the WHL. They play their home games at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Hitmen name is derived from Calgary-born wrestler. The Hitmen's original jerseys were a distinctive mix of pink, black and grey.The Hitmen are the third WHL team to represent Calgary, preceded by the Centennials and Wranglers. In 1999, the Hitmen became the first Calgary team to win the President's Cup as league champions, and the first to represent Calgary in the Memorial Cup since the Calgary Canadians won the national junior title in 1926.
Calgary had been without a WHL team since 1987, when the Calgary Wranglers moved south to become the Lethbridge Hurricanes, as the juniors could not compete against the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League. Eighteen investors, however, convinced the WHL to grant the city of Calgary an expansion franchise for the 1995-96 WHL season. In addition to Hart, the ownership group included NHL stars Theo Fleury and Joe Sakic Though initially nervous of competing with the Hitmen for hockey fan's dollars, the Flames chose to purchase the Hitmen in 1997, and have since built the team into one of the premier junior hockey teams in Canada.
After two challenging seasons, the Hitmen quickly rose to prominence. In 1997-98, the Hitmen won 40 games and the Central Division. The Hitmen cruised past the Saskatoon Blades, entering the playoffs for the first time, and then upset the Swift Current Broncos before falling in the Eastern Conference final to the Brandon Wheat Kings. Head coach Dean Clark, brought in to replace James, won the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as WHL coach of the year for his efforts and was also named the CHL coach of the year.Calgary improved to 51 wins in 1998-99, narrowly edging the Kamloops Blazers for the regular season title. Led by Brad Moran, Pavel Brendl and goaltender Alexandre Fomitchev, the Hitmen lost just five games in the playoffs, capturing their first President's Cup at home before a WHL playoff record crowd of 17,139.
1999 Memorial Cup
The Hitmen finished atop the round robin standings earning a berth straight into the final. Calgary faced the host Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League in the championship game in an exciting back-and-forth affair.
the Hitmen set franchise records for wins and points while capturing their second straight regular season title. After sweeping their first two playoff series, the Hitmen were stunned by the eventual WHL champion Kootenay Ice.Recent yearsThe Hitmen have settled in as a middle of the road team on the ice. Despite this, the team has become a perennial attendance leader, finishing atop the WHL standings each of the past four years. In 2004-05, the Flames heavily marketed the Hitmen in the wake of the 2004-05 NHL lockouts. As a result, the Hitmen averaged 10,062 fans, the first junior team to average 10,000, and the highest average of any junior or professional team in North America. Their season total of 362,227 set WHL and CHL records.
While the team has not been extremely successful in recent years, the Hitmen have developed several players who have gone onto success in the NHL and at major international tournaments. Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd were both members of the dominating Canadian team that won the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Justin Pogge emerged as the unlikely hero for team Canada as they defended their gold medal at the 2006 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Pogge would also be named the WHL and CHL goaltender of the year in 2005-06. Ladd also became the first Hitmen alumnus to win the Stanley Cup, which he did with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. Getzlaf won the cup the following season with the Anaheim Ducks, leading the team in scoring with seven goals and ten assists in twenty-one games.