The Arena Dance Resumes In Calgary

The city and Flames ownership could have a third party at the table in upcoming negotiating sessions.

It is back to the negotiating table in Calgary in the on-going saga of how to build the Calgary Flames ownership group a new arena. When we last left the city and the hockey team ownership at the end of 2021, the two sides broke off the engagement that would have seen the construction of an arena. Flames ownership did 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, 2021, the estimated cost of the project rose by more than $25 million Canadian. Ten million dollars Canadian seems like pocket change in the arena building business but the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation put out a statement “there is no viable path to complete the Event Centre Project.” But the two sides are talking again.

Flames’ owners have been pushing Calgary city elected officials to fund a building for years. Flames’ ownership wanted 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. Two years later, in 2019, the two sides reached an agreement to build an arena. In 2021, the two sides hit a speed bump delaying construction. In July, it was full speed ahead for a new Calgary Flames building.  The Flames ownership is for now using the city owned arena that they currently play in and will eventually get the new building. The negotiations are continuing with a neutral third-party facilitator helping the two sides. The arena game continues.

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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)