Plans in place to keep Red Mile safe as Calgary Flames make playoff run, police say

Plans in place to keep Red Mile safe as Calgary Flames make playoff run, police say

Police in Calgary say they have the resources and planning in place to make sure celebrations are fun and legal on the Red Mile as the Flames make their first playoff run since 2015.

Staff Sgt. Claire Smart said members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) are excited the Flames made the playoffs.

"This is a great time for our city and we're here to celebrate it with the Calgary Flames," she said. 

"But we're not easing up on anything. We have to make sure the number one priority is the safety of the public."

The stretch of bars and restaurants along 17th Avenue became known as the Red Mile during the 2004 playoffs as tens of thousands of fans converged to cheer on the Flames.

That year the team made it all the way the Stanley Cup finals.

Violence and vandalism in past

The Red Mile was revived briefly in 2015 when the Flames earned another playoff spot, and crowds gathered to celebrate.

But there has also been violence and vandalism in years past.

The CPS major event and emergency management section is well equipped and trained for the policing challenges around sporting events, said Smart.

If the first round pits Calgary against its traditional foes, the Oilers, the challenges could increase since many people will likely make the trip down from Edmonton, said Smart.

"Sometimes it's just that small, small group of people that like to maybe escalate a situation," she said.

"But again, we know that there is a possibility and we have implemented plans in place to make sure that we are going to be able to resolve that situation."

Businesses briefed

More than 160 stores, restaurants and other businesses on 17th Avenue have already been consulted by a police liaison officer  in order to brief them on plans to keep the festivities from getting out of hand, said Smart.

The Flames have three games remaining in the regular season — against the Ducks on Tuesday, the Kings on Thursday and ending the season against the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday.

This will be the second trip to the playoffs in eight seasons for Calgary.

After going two rounds in 2015 the Flames had a disappointing 2016, finishing 26th overall. 

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