Today's NHL Heritage Classic (6 p.m. Eastern, CBC) is being played at a venue much more familiar to CFL fans; the Calgary Flames will be hosting the Montreal Canadiens on an outdoor rink built inside the confines of McMahon Stadium, the regular home of the Stampeders. Conditions are expected to be chilly, with Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski referring to Calgary as "the surface of Pluto", but it probably won't be as bad as the last notable athletic event at McMahon; the West Final between the Stampeders and Roughriders in November saw temperatures of -17 Celsius and a wind-chill factor below -30. However, this week has already seen one cold move connecting the CFL and NHL, with Flames' defenceman Robyn Regehr rocking a Roughriders' toque (pictured above) during the team's practice on Saturday before the alumni game. As NHL.com's Dave Lozo breaks down, there was a particular motivation for the Saskatchewan-raised Regehr to wear his team's toque at the home of the Stampeders; he was out to get Calgary quarterback Henry Burris for citing him as the Flames' biggest Stamps' supporter three years ago on TSN's Off The Record.
When reporters crowded around Regehr after practice in the Flames locker room -- which is really the Stampeders locker room -- he wore a pretty satisfied grin.
"Henry Burris started it," Regehr said. "It's taken me a little while to get back at him, but I thought this would be a really good opportunity to do that."
Regehr said none of his teammates knew what he had planned.
"This is a solo mission," Regehr said. "I'm going rogue right now."
As Lozo goes on to point out, wearing apparel from the Stampeders' biggest rival might not exactly sit well in Calgary, especially considering the still-painful lingering memories of what happened the last time Riders' apparel was seen in McMahon Stadium in November. Still, Regehr's been a key part of the Flames for years, so I doubt this will instantly make him a local pariah. In any event, it's great to see NHL players with a strong interest in the CFL.
Regehr's toque is hardly the only CFL connection to today's game, either. As Allen Cameron of The Calgary Herald relates, long-time Stampeders' equipment manager George Hopkins has been working with the NHL teams all week to make sure they have everything they need. Hopkins, who's getting ready for his 39th year with the Stampeders, also wants to make sure the hockey players take good care of his locker rooms and fitness facilities; the Stamps just finished a major renovation of McMahon's facilities before last season, and they obviously don't want to see much damage done to them.
"You do get a little protective," admits Hopkins. "The different thing is that it's not my room for that time frame. I'm just a liaison to help facilitate things for them. As much as anything, I'll be trying to stay out of the way. But I'll be on site. Because this is my room."
There will be some cosmetic changes made to accommodate the Flames. A temporary floor will be put down over the carpet, for obvious reasons, and Hopkins is lobbying hard for kickplates to be added to the bottom of the lockers so that skates don't mark up the wood.
Hopkins will probably be prowling around the stadium in his typical shorts, so you'd expect there won't be too much damage done to the facilities with him on hand. According to Lozo, though, one Stampeder in particular might get a little surprise when he comes back.
Regehr, who was born in Brazil but raised in Saskatchewan, said he has something else in store for Burris before the weekend is over.
"I just can't wait till Henry finds what I'm going to hide in his locker," Regehr said.
Check out Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy blog for full coverage of the Winter Classic, including a live chat for the game starting at 6 p.m. Eastern. You can also follow Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski, who's in Calgary for the game, on Twitter.