It was Matthew Tkachuk’s big night back in Calgary. For the first time as a Panther, he was heading to his former hometown to play the Flames. And yes, it got just as special as many would’ve thought.
Matthew Tkachuk said pre-game he was expecting both cheers and boos, and he was just about right. Six minutes into Tkachuk’s first return to Saddledome since the blockbuster trade this summer, Flames fans got to thank him for his great years in Calgary.
The Flames honored Tkachuk with some video highlights in the arena. The honoring was greeted with a standing ovation, and Tkachuk stood on the bench with a look of appreciation.
But as soon as the tribute ended, everything changed. Tkachuk was booed, and in the third period, as Jonathan Huberdeau recorded his second point of the night, chant’s about how Huberdeau was better than Tkachuk were heard in the arena.
But Tkachuk showed great respect towards his former team before, during, and after the game.
He thanked the fans for everything and praised them for their passion. But he also showed great respect to his former teammates.
Matthew Tkachuk laid a huge body check on Elias Lindholm, his former linemate in Calgary. He immediately stopped skating, turned around, and asked if he was okay. It’s not usual for two players on opposite teams to show that much respect, but Tkachuk said, with a gesture, he didn’t mean to collide in Lindholm that hard and even helped him up from the ice.
Fans absolutely loved the moments between two former teammates.
”LINDHOLM AND TKACHUK AND TKACHUK WENT TO SEE IF LINDHOLM WAS OKAY- OMG STOP ITS SO ADORABLE,” one said.
”Dude Tkachuk checking on Lindholm has me bawling like I’m way too mentally unstable for this,” said another.
”Loved that moment with Tkachuk and Lindholm!” Said a third.
”I’m actually crying,” a fourth said.