Flames looking to Saskatoon if arena isn’t ready

Concerns that the Saddledome may not be ready in time for the season opener has the NHL discussing the possibility of the Flames playing home games in Saskatoon.

The Calgary Flames are looking to Saskatoon if the Scotiabank Saddledome isn’t ready for the start of the NHL’s regular season, according to Hockey Central insider John Shannon.

The Saddledome was badly damaged when the city of Calgary was ravaged by severe flooding last week. The floodwaters reached the eighth row of seats in the lower bowl and submerged the Flames dressing room, as well as damaging much of what was on the event level of the building.

If the Saddledome isn’t ready for the start of training camp in September, one would assume the Flames will make Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre their temporary home.

The Credit Union Centre, home of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades and the venue for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup, has a capacity of just over 15,000.

Despite the devastating damage to the Saddledome, Flames president Ken King insisted on June 22 that the arena would be ready for opening day.

"We’re going to be ready for the opening of the season," King vowed. "That’s our goal and our objective.

Next season’s WHL and NHL schedules have yet to be released, but the WHL season starts the third week of September and the NHL’s the first week of October.

"The quicker we can get in there and start pumping water, the quicker we’re going to be able to answer that question with certainty," King said.

The Calgary Herald reported on Thursday that the "cleaning phase" of the Saddledome’s restoration was expected to be completed by the end of the week.

With files from the Canadian Press