The Calgary Flames have made the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and not only is Calgary excited, but so is the CPO!

“When the Flames are playing like this I think it raises the passion level of everybody in the whole  city, and that’s us included,” says CPO assistant principal bassoonist Michael Hope.

Many CPO patrons may not realize that their musicians are some of the biggest hockey fans in the city. In fact, a devoted core of CPO musicians have been watching and obsessing about the Flames since they came to Calgary in 1980. In the Flames’ legendary Cup runs of 1986, 1989 and 2004, many CPO concerts were played by musicians trying to focus on their notes, while thinking about the hockey scores at the same time!

Mike and Arthur Flames cropped

Michael Hope (Assistant Principal Bassoon) and Arthur Bachmann (viola) featured in a 2004 Calgary Herald article about the positive impact of a deep Flames playoff run on Calgary’s arts community.

Michael embarrassingly admits to having once taken a television set into the opera pit in 1986 to follow the score of an important Flames game. “Luckily, the conductor was a Flames fan too, so he didn’t really mind. In fact, he would ask me for score updates every few minutes! Nonetheless, the orchestra’s personnel manager at the time (Tim Rawlings) gently asked me to please watch future games on my own time at home.”

That passion has manifested itself in an annual CPO Playoff Hockey Pool, in which a group of musicians, board members and staff gather each spring to “draft” and select their own teams of playoff-eligible NHL players. By the time the Stanley Cup is awarded, the team that has the points is the winner of the pool. The winner receives one of the CPO’s most coveted trophies: LORD STANLEY’S NACHO PLATTER. This beautiful silver tray (donated by Assistant Principal Horn, William Hopson) was first awarded (jointly to Principal Bass Charles Garrett and Michael Hope) in 1989, the year the Flames won the Stanley Cup. For the past 25 years a new winner’s name has been engraved on the platter (except for 2005, when the NHL lock-out cancelled the playoffs that year).

Lord Stanley's Nacho Platter 2
Lord Stanley’s Nacho Platter

This week, last year’s Nacho Platter champion, Craig Hutchenreuther (2nd violin) will host the 2015 draft as part of his duties as the previous year’s winner. A complete list of winners is below.

Like a symphony orchestra, a professional hockey team is something which is part of any Canadian city’s inner fabric. It brings people together and creates excitement and community spirit. The CPO is proud and delighted to be part of a city where people feel genuine passion about hockey and music!

Previous Winners of “Lord Stanley’s Nacho Platter” (2004-2014)

2014: Craig Hutchenreuther
2013: Tom Megee
2012: Michael Hope
2011: Michael Hope
2010: Rob Grewcock
2009: Michael Bursey
2008: Tom Megee
2007: Charles Garrett
2006: Michael Eastep
2005: No Winner (2004-2005 NHL Lockout)
2004: Craig Hutchenreuther