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Calgary Bo: Mitchell Embracing Flames & His New Hockey Fandom

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What does the guy who holds the reins for one of the most potent offences in the CFL do in the offseason?

He steers the bandwagon for Calgary’s other team.

By: Chris O’Leary – CFL.ca Senior Writer

Bo Levi Mitchell is the first to admit that his live-tweeting of the Calgary Flames’ playoff run comes from his heart more than his head.

“The fun thing is I have no idea what I’m talking about,” he said frankly during a Monday night interview while the Zamboni circled the Scotiabank Saddledome ice. You won’t get detailed analysis from Mitchell, no demands for tweaking of line combinations, no lamenting draft pick selections or even a 4-1 lead in a must-win game squandered.

What he does get, though, is the passion of the fans. It reminds him of his hometown, Katy Texas. (Some football-is-everything-in-America perspective: Mitchell’s old high school is in the process of wrapping up construction on a $70 million football stadium that will hold 12,000 fans; located outside of Houston, Katy’s population is just over 15,000 people.)

“As far as the tradition, the culture around it and how much everyone loves it, that’s where I’m from. I still liked seeing the same (passion in Calgary). They were just loyal to their sport, loyal to their team. The only thing that ever gets to me is the fans that they love going to the playoffs then all they do is complain about the playoffs, the way they’re playing, stuff like that. Be grateful you have a team and that they’re good and fun to watch.”

Mitchell’s relationship with hockey is still fairly new. The Flames’ 2015 playoff run sparked his interest and through meeting a few of the Flames players over the last couple of years and watching more of the game, he said he’s come to understand it better.

“It took me a couple of years to truly understand it, because hockey’s obviously not big where I’m from,” Mitchell said. “But now that I understand the game you have a pretty big respect for what those guys do and it’s fun to watch.”

He finds it fun to watch, but he won’t likely be playing the game anytime soon. He laced up a pair of skates on a date once when he was younger.

“I fell on my face,” he said, laughing.

“I thought all skates had that rigid pointy thing at the front that helps you stop,” he said, unable to find the word.

The toe pick?

“Yeah,” he laughed again, “that’s what I thought all skates had. That shows you how much I knew about skates at all.”

It continues to be a learning process for Mitchell, but it’s a fun one. Over the weekend, he took a stab at what Flames’ centre Mikael Backlund’s nickname might be.

He was showered with well-intentioned corrections.

“Yeah, I have no idea what their nicknames are,” he said.

He’s also stumped as to what his hockey name would be. Bo-sy? Mitchee?

“My name is already a nickname,” he said.

Mitchell won’t suit up on the ice, but he said a few of his teammates can definitely play.

“Dave (Dickenson) and those guys they all get out and they have a little Friday league that goes on in the offseason that looks like fun,” Mitchell said. “But you want to avoid injuries and that’s probably a pretty easy way to do it because I don’t know how to skate.

“I’ve seen some guys like (offensive lineman) Spencer Wilson on skates. He’s a lot more athletic than most people know. He and (d-line coach) Corey Mace, he’s a lot more athletic than most guys know.”

The most impressive Stampeder on the ice, Mitchell said, is his coach.

“Dave, man, Dave’s a killer on the ice. He’ll back check you, forecheck you, whatever it’s called. He’ll put the stick in your back and put you to the ice.”

Speaking a few hours before the Flames’ Game 3 loss, Mitchell still liked his adopted team’s chances. With the Flames now down 0-3, he’s not giving up.

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