Photo of downtown Calgary skyline. 

Talks between the Calgary Flames organization and the city of Calgary about the construction of a new arena in downtown Calgary have officially stalled. The talks have actually been stalled for several months now, at least according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The proposed arena would be built in the Victoria Park section of downtown Calgary which sits just north of the Scotiabank Saddledome. Neither the team nor the city was able to agree on how the project would be funded which is common for most new stadium talks. Over the last two years, many cities across North America have begun to put up resistance when sports teams ask for public dollars to build new stadiums.

The Scotiabank Saddledome, current home of the Calgary Flames, was first constructed in 1983 making it one of the oldest arenas in the NHL. A new arena would allow the Flames to compete with the offerings of other more up to date NHL arenas. The Edmonton Oilers recently built a brand-new arena (Rogers Place) and the Ottawa Senators are also trying to build a new arena in downtown Ottawa. The new Calgary Flames arena would be part of a development called CalgaryNEXT which would also include a joint arena for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. The Stampeders currently play their home games at McMahon Stadium in downtown Calgary which is also an aging venue.

 

The estimated construction costs for CalgaryNext exceeds $800M and the city of Calgary is not willing to contribute the money needed to help fund the project. The hockey arena portion alone would cost in excess of $500M to build. The Calgary Flames front office insisted that a small market city like Calgary would have a difficult time privately financing a new arena on it’s own. Hey! Look on the bright side, Flames fans. At least you’ll still be able to purchase your heroin beer for several more years.

 

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