The Calgary Flames announced on Thursday morning that three players – Matthew Tkachuk, Mark Jankowski and Dillon Dube – will be marching in the annual Calgary Stampede Parade on Friday morning.

The parade is the official kick-off to Calgary’s longstanding exhibition, rodeo and general city-wide party that runs July 5-14 at Stampede Park – which so happens to contain the Scotiabank Saddledome.

If you’re the type to read into things, Tkachuk’s participation is at the very least a sign that negotiations on his new contract are positive enough that he was willing to fly in from his hometown of St. Louis for a few days. Tkachuk is a restricted free agent presently, and his contract is widely expected to be the richest in franchise history in terms of AAV – likely matching or surpassing Jarome Iginla’s $7 million cap hit of years past.

Past Flames parade representatives include:

  • 2018: Mike Smith, Johnny Gaudreau, Michael Stone, Troy Brouwer and Bill Peters
  • 2017: Johnny Gaudreau and Curtis Lazar
  • 2016: Matt Stajan, Micheal Ferland and Brian Burke
  • 2015: Joe Colborne, Micheal Ferland and Bob Hartley

Also representing the broader Flames organization at the parade include Calgary Hitmen goaltender Jack McNaughton and several members of the NLL Champion Calgary Roughnecks.