Police prepared for possible Red Mile return

CALGARY- With the Calgary Flames returning to the NHL playoffs for the first time in six years, police are preparing for the possibility hockey fans will recreate the so-called Red Mile on 17th Avenue S.W.

The Flames clinched a playoff berth with a home win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night and while the Saddledome and 17th Avenue S.W. were scenes of jubilation and celebration, police say Calgarians were well behaved.

“There was a few hundred fans that were quite excited and quite boisterous along 17th Avenue,” said Calgary Police Service spokesperson Kevin Brookwell. “But very respectful of the community and businesses.”

In 2004, thousands of hockey fans converged on 17th Avenue west of the Saddledome to celebrate following Flames’ victories as the team went on a remarkable run to the Stanley Cup finals. The spontaneous celebrations on the popular bar and restaurant strip became known as the Red Mile.

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While the Red Mile celebrations were lively and full of alcohol-fuelled fans, they generally didn’t see violent incidents occur and were more known for young Calgary women flashing their breasts to the crowd. But police say they will make sure any re-igniting of the Red Mile will be peaceful.

“There will be contingency plans,” said Brookwell. “If we need to call in additional resources, of course that’s always built into the plan.”

The Flames wrap up their regular season when they face off against the Jets in Winnipeg on Saturday. The team will face the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs which begin next week.