The Calgary Flames are inching closer towards a deal that would see a new arena built in the city, according to the panel on Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment.
The Flames have been looking for a new building for quite some time, but have had difficulties coming to terms with the City of Calgary, which has been reluctant to spend taxpayer funds on the would-be expensive project.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has clashed with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the past, and shut down the proposed CalgaryNext development project after a report concluded the proposal’s price tag would be higher than initially projected.
According to Sportsnet’s Kelly Hrudey, both the Flames and the city are starting to move forward in an attempt to make a deal. Hrudey spoke with Flames president and CEO Ken King and asked if there was any news with regards to a new arena.
“[King] said ‘Yes, we are starting to make some progress,’ ” reported Hrudey. “So again I followed up today and he said that the Flames feel very encouraged by the city’s determination to get a new facility.”
Hrudey, a Calgary native, went on to explain that the city would like the new building to be in the East Village, while the Flames would prefer a location in the West Village.
The Edmonton Oilers began the 2016-17 season in a brand new arena of their own which has drawn positive reviews so far, adding pressure to the Flames’ situation.
“The good thing is there’s still lots of communication,” said Hrudey.
The talks between King and the city aren’t exclusive to the Calgary Flames’ potential new home.
“Nenshi was spotted at Rio, the Olympics, this summer and there’s word that Calgary might be putting in a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
“So it seems as though there is progress, Ken King actually told me the Flames feel there could be a deal made.”
The Scotiabank Saddledome, which opened in 1983, has served as the Flames’ current home from its inception until now. It was built as part of the city’s bid to host the 1988 Winter Olympics, so there is some precedent for the city using an Olympic bid to build a new professional sports facility.