Calgary Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic played 171 major junior hockey games for the Moose Jaw Warriors-- with home video games less than an hour's drive west of Regina. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

While there is a scarcity of home-province representation Saturday, about 22 present NHL gamers hail from Saskatchewan, consisting of 2019 Stanley Cup winners Tyler Bozak (Regina), Jaden Schwartz (Wilcox) and Brayden Schenn (Saskatoon) of the St. Louis Blues.

The province punches above its weight in per-capita representation, with 516 gamers from Saskatchewan winning a combined 171 Stanley Cups in NHL history.

Hamonic played for Canada in the 2010 world junior hockey champion in Saskatoon and Regina.

Offered his roots, Hamonic can't help but know the Canadian Football League competition between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Given that Mosaic is the home of the Roughriders, he anticipates to see green football jerseys mingling with Calgary red and Winnipeg blue.

"I would picture. Most likely some watermelons on the heads too I think," he said.

The Jets (5-6-0) are the "home" team, while the Flames (6-5-1) are the road team in the NHL's 28th outside game since 2003 and ninth in the last three years.

'Great hockey fans'

"I would picture the crowd will be quite split," Hamonic said. "Great hockey fans in Saskatchewan as a whole. They support their junior groups greatly and obviously support their football groups.

"They like their sports in Saskatchewan. I know that first hand."

The actual games typically take a rear seats to the spectacle of the NHL's outdoor events.

Both teams will use vintage jerseys-- the Jets their World Hockey Association uniforms of the 1970s and the Flames a mashup celebrating 40 years in the NHL and their 1989 Stanley Cup triumph.

There have actually been rumours of Calgary's training staff sporting cowboy hats, however head coach Bill Peters said previously today he didn't understand what headgear he'll embrace.

Juno Award winners The Sheepdogs from Saskatoon will carry out after the first period.

Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous gamers in the NHL, along with Manitoba's Brigette Lacquette, the first First Nations female to play for Canada in the Olympic Games, will take part in the ceremonial puck drop.

Calgary's CFL arena was the site of the 2011 Heritage Classic, in which the Flames shut out the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 at McMahon on Feb. 20.

'It's a little bit different'

Captain Mark Giordano and centre Mikael Backlund are the two players on the current Flames roster who took part in the second Heritage Classic seven years after the first in Edmonton.

"It's a bit various playing in an outside rink," Giordano said. "Your depth understanding is various because the stands are further away. You've got get used to little things like glare on the ice.

"It's an easy game to get up for. There's a huge crowd out there and I'm sure this one is going to be fantastic."


The NHL's outside video game in Regina doesn't have a gamer from the province of Saskatchewan in it, and even a Western Hockey League Regina Pats alumnus.

So the player with perhaps the strongest psychological tie to Saturday's Heritage Classic in between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets at Mosaic Stadium is Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic. The 29-year-old from St. Malo, Man., played his major junior hockey for the Moose Jaw Warriors-- less than an hour's drive west of the provincial capital on the Trans-Canada and therefore the traditional competitor of the Pats.

A concussion kept Hamonic out of the 2014 Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium when he was a New York Islander, so he'll play his very first outside video games on the Prairies.

"Unfortunately I needed to see that a person from the side, however I've got a possibility now to do it in Western Canada at home," Hamonic said.

"The Prairie provinces are definitely close to my heart, so I believe it's going to be better this time around."

The player with maybe the greatest psychological tie to Saturday's Heritage Classic in between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets at Mosaic Stadium is Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic. "Great hockey fans in Saskatchewan as a whole."They enjoy their sports in Saskatchewan."It's a little bit various playing in an outside rink," Giordano said."It's an easy game to get up for.

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