Calgary Flames Ownership Walks Away From An Arena Deal

It is the second breakdown in negotiations with Calgary elected officials in four years.

It is like déjà vu all over again. The city of Calgary and the Calgary Flames ownership group have, for now, ended talks about building the National Hockey League franchise a new arena. Apparently, there is a $10 million Canadian gap between the two sides. Flames ownership does not want to pay for cost overruns of the construction, after all Flames ownership agreed to pay half of the estimated $608.5 million Canadian cost. Since July, the estimated cost of the project has risen by more than $25 million Canadian. Ten million dollars Canadian seems like pocket change in the arena building business but Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation put out a statement “there is no viable path to complete the Event Centre Project.”

Flames’ owners have been pushing Calgary city elected officials to fund a building for years. Flames’ ownership wants a revenue generating arena but needed to get some public loonies from the city to subsidize the building’s cost. In 2017, the Flames’ ownership threw in the towel and decided to end talks with Calgary elected officials and said they were going back to the old arena. The owners would move the franchise but cooler heads prevailed and the two sides spoke again. In sports no owner ever walks away from the table stomping his or her feet saying I am not talking to you anymore about you spending money for my factory. Two years later, in 2019, the two sides reached an agreement to build an arena. In 2021, the two sides hit a bump delaying construction. In July, it was full speed ahead for a new Calgary Flames building.  The Flames ownership will for now use the city owned arena and probably will eventually meet with city officials and  reach a deal in the arena game. Because that is how it is played.

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Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) celebrates his goal against the Calgary Flames with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and center Anthony Cirelli (71) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)