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Flames start fast, hang on to beat host Oilers 4-3


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By Shane Jones in Edmonton

It is already the best start for the Calgary Flames in a dozen years.

Defenceman Michael Stone had a goal and two assists as the Flames got a bit of revenge for last season’s playoff ousting by Edmonton, defeating the Oilers 4-3 on Saturday.

It was the first time since the 2009-2010 season that the Flames have won their first two games of the NHL regular season.

“The first period was good, we came out with a lot of energy and did some good things,” said Stone, who recorded his first-ever three-point game in the NHL as the Flames grabbed a 4-1 lead in the first period.

“We kind of got back on our heels a little bit in the second, but we managed to turn it back around in the third and finished the game off well, which was good to see.

“We didn’t panic. We know what it takes to win and what little things need to be done to win in this league.”

Mikael Backlund, Nazem Kadri and Andrew Mangiapane also scored for the Flames

Kadri said the way the Flames withstood an Oilers comeback attempt was a positive sign.

“I am happy with the way we played,” Kadri said. “It shows a lot of maturity. We have a mature group in here and I don’t think anyone really hit the panic button.”

Cody Ceci, Connor McDavid and Ryan McLeod scored for the Oilers (1-1), who also trailed by three goals in their first game against Vancouver before rallying to win 5-3.

“We had a couple of whacks at the end, we were hoping one of those squeaks through. It wasn’t meant to be,” said Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who had two assists.

“Just individual and system mistakes, they’re little mistakes that are easy to clean up. We can’t spot a team three goals in back-to-back nights. That’s something we have to address, obviously.”

The Flames got off to a quick start, scoring 1:13 into the opening frame when Backlund was able to deposit the rebound in front after Oilers’ starter Jack Campbell made the initial save on a deflected shot.

Edmonton erased that early lead 3:18 into the first on a broken pass that ended up going back to Ceci, who beat Flames goalie Dan Vladar on a long shot to the glove side.

Calgary regained the advantage just over a minute later at 4:34 as Stone was able to send a shot through heavy traffic that found its way into the net.

The Flames made it 3-1 three minutes later on the power play as Oilers defender Brett Kulak wiped out, allowing Kadri a clear lane to the net and he made no mistake in scoring his first goal for Calgary.

The Flames added to their lead midway through the first as Mangiapane banged home a rebound from the blue paint after Campbell made the initial save. The Oilers brought in backup Stuart Skinner to replace Campbell, who allowed four goals on 11 shots.

Edmonton got one back on the power play midway through the second period as Evander Kane made a great pass on the doorstep across to McDavid, who scored his fourth of the season.

The Oilers made it a one-goal game with five minutes left in the second as Ryan Murray pushed up from defence and ended up sending a feed in front from behind the net to McLeod, who sent it past Vladar.

There was no scoring in the third period, despite a final flurry by the Oilers at the end.

Calgary outshot the Oilers 42-28 in the game.

Skinner had 31 saves in the loss.


The game was one of just three regular-season matchups between the bitter provincial rivals and the only one in Edmonton. The two teams will play in Calgary on Oct. 29 and they’ll again play in Calgary on Dec. 27 to conclude the Battle of Alberta for this season … It wasn’t surprising to see Vladar get the start in net for the Flames. In the five playoff games against the Oilers last year, usual starter Jacob Markstrom allowed 24 goals … Both teams won their season openers by 5-3 scores, as the Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks after trailing 3-0 early in the second period and the Flames beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.


Both teams are off until Tuesday. The Flames begin a mammoth eight-game homestand when they host the Vegas Golden Knights. The Oilers play the third game of a six-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres. Edmonton starts the season with nine of its first 12 contests on home ice.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2022.

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‘A crisis’: Calgary charity seeks one-month homes for Ukrainian refugees after influx

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Ukrainian evacuees Dmytro Syrman, left, his wife, Anastasiia, centre, and their four-year-old daughter Varvara attend a news conference highlighting the need for temporary housing in Calgary on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Bill Graveland in Calgary

After six months under Russian occupation, Dmytro Syrman and his family decided to flee Ukraine for a safer life abroad and are now in Calgary.

The family lived in Dniprorudne, a mining city of 17,000 in southern Ukraine. Syrman worked as a human resources manager at an iron factory.

In August, Syrman, his wife, Anastasiia, and four-year-old daughter Varvara embarked on a six-day, 3,000-kilometre drive to Poland.

“On the 24 of February, when the Russian army attacked Ukraine and occupied our city in March 2022, we lost everything,” Syrman said Wednesday.

He said they began planning their escape when they realized Russian soldiers weren’t leaving their city.

“We started all of this because we were scared for Varvara,” he said. “When Russian bombs were falling near our city it was really scary.”

Their home is still under Russian occupation.

For the past year the family stayed in Poland, sent in their paperwork to come to Canada, and two weeks ago arrived in Calgary.

They’re now staying with a host family for a month while they look for long-term accommodation and to find jobs.

“We are here and starting a new life. We can’t believe about people who don’t know us and many helped us. We’re really shocked,” Syrman said.

The Syrmans were helped by Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers, which started a campaign to find 100 hosts for Ukrainian families or individuals for a month while they find housing of their own.

Kelly Ernst, chief program officer with the centre, said there has been a flood of Ukrainians trying to take advantage of a federal program that allows them to temporarily resettle in Canada.

The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program has been extended until July and Ernst said he expects people will continue to flee the war-torn country.

“We’re in a desperate, dire need at the moment for host homes to try to accommodate the evacuees coming from Ukraine. It’s reaching the proportions of being a crisis moment,” said Ernst.

He said people arriving elsewhere in Canada are migrating to Calgary because the rents are lower than in larger cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.

Ernst said approximately 450 people have been arriving in Calgary every week from Ukraine and his organization has helped people staying nights in the airport, off the street and at homeless shelters.

Natalia Shem, who is the manager of housing for the Ukrainian evacuees, said it’s difficult for the newcomers to find somewhere to live before arriving.

“It’s almost impossible to find long-term rent being outside of Canada and people who come here need one month of stay,” Shem said. “It’s an average time a family can find long-term rent, job and settle down here in Canada.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2023.

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Budget measures unlikely enough to spur major carbon capture investments: Experts

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, March 28, 2023. Industry watchers say Tuesday’s federal budget likely won’t be enough to convince Canadian oil and gas companies to pull the trigger on expensive, emissions-reducing carbon capture and storage projects. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

By Amanda Stephenson in Calgary

A question mark continues to hang over the future of carbon capture and storage projects in Canada, in spite of a pledge in Tuesday’s federal budget to deliver more investment certainty for major emissions-reducing projects.

“Look, we have set some very aggressive climate targets in Canada. You can’t kick the can down the road,” said carbon capture advocate James Millar, arguing that’s exactly what the federal government did Tuesday when it provided no additional details around its previously stated intention to reduce the risk of investing in pricey emissions-reduction projects by essentially guaranteeing the future price of carbon.

“The difference comes down to investment certainty in the U.S., versus the promise of investment certainty in Canada.”

As president and CEO of the International CCS (carbon capture and storage) Knowledge Centre, a non-profit organization based in Regina, Millar had been closely watching Tuesday’s budget in hopes of obtaining more federal support for the expensive technology that can be used to trap harmful greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes and store them safely underground.

Heavy emitters — in particular, the oil and gas sector — have identified carbon capture and storage technology as key to helping the sector meet its emissions reduction targets and have been looking for government incentives akin to what is being offered south of the border, where the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act promises to pay companies a guaranteed US$85 price for each tonne of injected carbon.

While Canada has already announced an investment tax credit that will help to offset some of the up-front capital costs of carbon capture projects, companies have so far been hesitant to pull the trigger and go ahead with proposed large-scale projects.

The Pathways Alliance, for example, a consortium of oilsands companies, has proposed building a $16.5-billion carbon capture and storage transportation line to combat emissions from existing oilsands infrastructure in northern Alberta.

But the group has not yet made a final investment decision, saying it needs to know its project will be competitive with those in the U.S. before proceeding.

One thing the oil and gas sector has said will help with that is some kind of mechanism that would reduce the risk to companies that the federal price on carbon could be lowered or eliminated. If a new government were to be elected and remove or change Canada’s carbon pricing system, investing in expensive carbon-reducing technology could suddenly become uneconomical.

On Tuesday, the federal government reiterated that it intends to create such a mechanism through a so-called carbon contracts for difference system — but disappointed many who were hoping for details. Instead, the government announced it plans to begin consultations around the development of such a program.

Millar said while he doesn’t doubt the government’s good intentions, companies that have proposed large-scale projects need to get moving now if they have any hope of meeting Canada’s goal to reduce this country’s overall emissions by 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 looms.

“We’re already in 2023, we’re seven years out. The consultations that were announced yesterday will take months,” he said. “I think it will take at least a year because it’s going to take time to set up the process.”

The Pathways Alliance itself took a diplomatic tone Tuesday, issuing a statement after the tabling of the budget saying it was “encouraged” by the signal that more policy certainty is coming, and adding it looks forward to a “better understanding” of the government’s intentions.

But Greg Pardy of RBC Capital said in a research note that in spite of some enhancements to the previously announced investment tax credit, budgetary support for carbon capture and storage was “somewhat limited  — perhaps even disappointing.”

“In our view, Canada’s federal government needs to shift into much higher gear when it comes to incentivizing decarbonization investment if it is to achieve its bold climate change ambitions,” Pardy said.

A report from BMO Capital Markets published just before the release of Tuesday’s budget said Canada’s policy framework for large-scale deployment of carbon capture and storage disadvantages producers here compared to the U.S., “despite claims to the contrary from some proponents of the environmental lobby.”

Environmentalists have been critical of any additional federal support for carbon capture, calling it akin to a subsidy for oil and gas companies that enables them to increase production when the world should be scaling down fossil fuel usage.

But the BMO report said carbon capture is an essential part of the energy transition, and without offering improved incentives to keep up with the U.S., Canada risks not meeting its 2030 emissions reduction targets.

“Canada’s market-based carbon price systems are much too uncertain to act as ‘incentive’ for industry to invest in major decarbonization projects,” the BMO report stated.

“Emitters need financial supports that are tangible and recognized by financial institutions to underwrite bank financing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2023.

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