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Councillor Makes Case for CalgaryNEXT

Proposed CalgaryNEXT arena project

As the opening of Edmonton’s Rogers Place draws closer, a councillor in Calgary is making the case for CalgaryNEXT, a proposed home for the Calgary Flames

The Oilers have had a big week in regards to Rogers Place, highlighted by a ceremony in which the team received the keys to the new venue. Rogers Place is highly anticipated around the NHL–the Oilers are the only team to open an arena this year–and Calgary City Councillor Shane Keating believes that now is the time to move forward with CalgaryNEXT.

As it has been pitched, CalgaryNEXT would essentially be a year-round sports complex that includes a new arena for the Oilers as well as a fieldhouse that hosts the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and other events. Along with replacing two existing venues–the Flames’ Scotiabank Saddledome and the Stampeders’ McMahon Stadium–CalgaryNEXT would follow other arena trends by bringing a major development close to the city’s downtown.

Both in size and cost, CalgaryNEXT is a fairly large project. There has been debate about how to form a private/public partnership and pay the estimated price tag, which sources have estimated to be anywhere from $890 million to $1.8 billion.

According to Keating, talks about CalgaryNEXT need to continue, as he fears what could happen to the Flames if the project does not move forward. More from the Calgary Herald:

Keating says Calgary risks being left behind as the Flames now have one of the oldest arenas in the NHL.

“Overall, I think CalgaryNEXT has to happen. I don’t know if it has to happen in the spot they’re talking about in West Village. But, eventually, we need to have a new stadium. I had no problem with the concept, or the $200 million that they want to put into the field house or the ticket surcharge. As long as the city isn’t on the hook for borrowing the money.”

The arena landscape in the NHL is certainly undergoing a rapid change. Rogers Place is opening this year, and both T-Mobile Arena and Little Caesars Arena will start hosting action in the 2017-18 season. Calgary will have to hone its plan in order for CalgaryNEXT to become a reality.

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