On Saturday, Mike Modano had his jersey retired by the Dallas Stars. But the night before, March 7, the Calgary Flames honored his 1999 Stanley Cup championship teammate and playoff MVP Joe Nieuwendyk.
Instead of retiring numbers — which becomes limiting as years pass — the Flames have taken to honoring certain players with their Forever a Flame program. A special banner is raised to salute players who have made a lasting contribution to the franchise. Lanny MacDonald, Mike Vernon and Al MacInnis have earned the tribute.
In the slideshow above are photos from Nieuwendyk's ceremony and the Flames' pre-game skate, in which the players all wore No. 25 jerseys with the captain's C on the chest.
The Forever a Flame "25" logo was also worn as a patch on the players' jerseys during the game. And befitting the nostalgic night, the Flames skated against the New York Islanders wearing their classic throwback threads — based on the sweater Nieuwendyk wore in 1989 when he won his first Stanley Cup. He won two more in his career, in 1999 with Dallas and in 2003 with New Jersey.
Seeing the Flames in their retro jersey was a relief to fans worried it would be permanently replaced by the new third jersey. It's nice to see the Flames leaving themselves the option of a fourth jersey as a handful of teams are beginning to do — Anaheim, Los Angeles and Vancouver among them.
But what I'd really like to see is a fifth Flames jersey — this white throwback!
By the way, the Flames were not the only team to sport their red retro jersey this season. Anyone know who it was? That'll be the subject of another blog post this week.