Is it Decision Day?
Is it Calgary Next for the National Hockey League in getting a new building for the local franchise? That answer may come immediately. Calgary’s city government may decide to go ahead and fund an arena that might capture Flames owner Ken King’s fancy. The dance between the city and Flames ownership has been going on for a couple years. Flames ownership wants a new facility with enhanced revenue generating possibilities to keep up with 30 teams including the other NHL Alberta franchise in Edmonton. Oilers ownership got municipal funding for that new arena. The trick here is to convince Calgary politicians that investing in the structure is a wise move. Mayor Naheed Nanshi said of a recent study, “Don’t sell me magic beans.” Nanshi knows most stadiums and arenas don’t produce the touted economic benefits.
In September, 2017, the Flames ownership 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. Of course, in sports no owner ever walks away from the table stomping his or her feet and says I am not talking to you about you spending money for my factory ever again. In April, 2017, Flames Chief Executive Officer Ken King expressed unhappiness with local elected officials’ refusing to help fund the Calgary Next project. Then 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. But King and Burke were reading off the same script. “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.” No never means no in the stadium or arena game.