Calgary Flames throwback thursday: Matt Stajan’s penalty shot

EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 22: Matt Stajan scores on a penalty shot against Viktor Fasth. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 22: Matt Stajan scores on a penalty shot against Viktor Fasth. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

As we all wait for the season to start up again, let’s look back at an emotional time for Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan.

Hello, Calgary Flames fans and welcome to another edition of Throwback Thursday! The segment we here at Flame for Thought bring you on Thursdays about something that happened in the past, whether that was last season or 25 years ago.

Last time, we looked back at when the Flames won 13-1 against the San Jose Sharks and currently have the biggest differential in the modern NHL era. That was back in 1993.

Today, let’s look at something that happened three years ago.

Related Story: Throwback Thursday - Beating the Sharks 13-1

We actually briefly wrote about this in our Top Ten Best Flames Highlight Videos, but it deserves its own article. So go get your tissues, because you’ll need it, and come back.

In 2014, Matt Stajan and his wife, Katie, had something terrible happened to them. On March 3rd, 2014, their son Emerson passed away very shortly after birth. Stajan, of course, took a couple weeks off, and the team even told him to take the rest of the season off.

But after missing eight games, Stajan decided to return to the lineup. And something inspiring happened. On March 22nd, 2014, the Calgary Flames were playing a game against the Edmonton Oilers. And what happens? Matt Stajan gets a penalty shot.

He shoots… and he scores! But it’s what he does after he scores that chocked up the hockey world. He points to the sky.

The Flames won 8-1 that day.

Like former head coach Bob Hartley said, it reminds you that this is all just a game. And with a great brotherhood that athletes have, Stajan credited the guys on the team, his second “family” for the amount of support they gave him in his time of need and when he returned to the lineup.

Via The Star:

"When you play hockey, there’s all these guys who you play with and it’s like your second family. Coming here with these guys, it’s been good for me."

Today the Flames announced that Brian McGrattan will be joining the team again with an off-ice role taking on a player-assistance role. And he’s definitely a motivational type of guy who can help someone through anything. Look at the video up there, he’s talking to Stajan after he scored that goal.

He and Matt were quite close and were close when tragedy struck the Stajan family.

Via Calgary Herald:

"What happened to them . . . 99 per cent of us will never be able to relate to that. But we can be here as great teammates, great friends, and be there for support. We have a tight-knit group of guys here. We all have each other’s back. We’re there for him. He’s a big part of this team. He’s a big part of everybody’s life in here. Whatever they need, we’re there for them.Everyone thinks we’re different because we’re professional athletes. But we’re all human, too. Life hits us just like life hits everybody else. Unfortunately, something happened to Staje that none of us will ever go through. Such a devastating blow to everyone who’s close to him."

It’ll be nice to have Big Ern and Stajan reunited again.

Next: Top ten best Flames highlight videos

Sometimes we all need a reminder that this is just a sport and all those guys on the ice have lives outside of this. Maybe I should remember that next time I’m yelling at a ref through my TV screen…