'Battle of Alberta' Memories: An intense rivalry is renewed

NHL Battle of Alberta fans were spoiled in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers met five times in the playoffs: 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1991.

The Oilers won every series, except for 1986, which was the year the Flames went on to the Stanley Cup final where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens.

For many fans, the playoff games between the QE II rivals were among the most intense, exciting games they have ever seen.

CTV Calgary's Darrel Janz remembers Game 6 in the 1984 series especially well.

Janz was the public address announcer at the Saddledome that night. When the Flames' Lanny McDonald scored the winning goal in overtime, to tie the series at 3-3 and force a Game 7, Janz could hardly be heard by the fans.

"It’s the loudest I’ve ever heard the Saddledome crowd," Janz says. "I finally gave up waiting for the crowd to calm down, so I just announced the goal. While the crowd couldn’t hear what I was saying, they knew what I was saying, so they got even louder."

Janz says 20 minutes after the goal, hundreds of people were still in their seats, cherishing what Janz says was, up until that point, the biggest Flames victory over Edmonton ever.

"It was the first time they showed they could compete with Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Fuhr and company," Janz says.

In a post-game interview with CTV News that night, Lanny McDonald agreed it was a major breakthrough.

"The guys feel we deserved that seventh game and I think we worked hard enough and proved that we definitely belong, more than belong, in this series and we've got what we want," said McDonald.

CTV News Calgary has been showing some "Battle of Alberta Memories" from our archival tapes during the 2022 edition of the Flames-Oilers playoff series. Many fans of a certain age will recognize the game highlights, interviews and celebrations along Electric Avenue that followed Flames victories.

Keep watching this webpage, and CTV News at 6, for more Battle of Alberta Memories.

Flames-Oilers Postseason History

  • 1983 division finals: Oilers win 4-1
  • 1984 division finals: Oilers win 4-3
  • 1986 division finals: Flames win 4-3
  • 1988 division finals: Oilers win 4-0
  • 1991 division semifinals: Oilers win 4-3