New Calgary Flames arena talks could be reignited, as the Calgary City Council voted on Tuesday to resume discussions with the team’s ownership.
Discussions about replacing the aging Scotiabank Saddledome hit a roadblock last fall, when the Flames ceased negotiations with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi. There were considerable disagreements between the two sides over the economics of a new arena, prompting the discussions to come to a halt.
However, Calgary’s event centre assessment committee, which was approved in May, has been looking to reinvigorate discussions. The effort to re-engage the Flames took a step forward on Tuesday, when the full city council voted to proceed with resuming discussions. With this vote, the city will now seek to have a dialogue with team ownership organization Calgary Sports and Entertainment about a potential new arena that would anchor a larger development project in Victoria Park. More from the Calgary Herald:
Council’s event centre committee will issue an overture to the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. “right away,” said chair Jeff Davison.
“We’ll probably let them know right away what council decided here today and set up a time to probably meet,” Davison said following Tuesday’s vote.
“First and foremost the question is, do we have a partner at the table with us or not? Once we have that we can undertake what does a partnership look like.”
Flames CEO Ken King declined to offer a detailed response to council’s decision Tuesday. “We are not making any formal comment but we are looking forward to hearing from them,” King said in a statement.
Before discussions ceased last fall, the Flames and the city were considering a plan for a new arena in Victoria Park at a site near the Saddledome. Originally opening in 1983, the Saddledome is currently the second-oldest among full-time home arenas in the NHL, with only Madison Square Garden–which has received significant renovations over the years–predating it among active full-time venues. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which opened in 1972–four years after Madison Square Garden, 11 before the Saddledome–will host the New York Islanders on a part-time basis over the coming years.
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