No one is supposed to know.
This is no secret. Calgary Flames ownership wants financial aid from the city in funding a new arena. Last year, Flames ownership’s request was rejected and the group decided to walk away from the negotiating table. But there have been overtures and the National Hockey League franchise owners and some city elected officials apparently are ready to discuss arena funding again. But Flames ownership doesn’t want anyone to know anything from proposed price of a building to actual ongoing negotiations until a deal is complete. The Flames owners are seeking a cone of silence on the possible talks with Calgary lawmakers until there is a deal. Councilor Jeff Davidson got a letter from Flames CEO Ken King that somehow was leaked to Global Media in Canada.
There are two nuggets in the letter that should cause concern. King wrote, “Moreover, if we are to proceed, a simple and pre-emptive imperative is media silence. Public and/or media involvement must only be rendered in the event of an agreement.” Flames ownership wants to hide and say nothing even though they are seeking public money. Last September, the Flames ownership group threw in the towel and decided to walk away from Calgary elected officials and said they were going back to the old arena and that was it. In April, 2017 King expressed unhappiness with local elected officials’ refusal to help fund the Calgary Next project. Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke said that the team would be gone without a new building and even suggested a possible landing spot, Quebec City. King immediately contradicted Burke saying Burke is not the organization’s arena negotiating mouthpiece. “There would be no threat to move, we would just move,” King said. “And it would be over. And I’m trying my level best to make sure that day never comes, frankly.” Flames ownership has been plotting the next move in the arena game for a while.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been unable to help Flames ownership in getting a new arena.