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Calgary mayor cool to funding new arena for Flames

Oct 22, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT

Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames Getty Images

Calgary’s mayor doesn’t like the idea of using public money to build a new arena for the Flames.

Not that the club has asked for any public money – it hasn’t even released specific plans to replace the aging Saddledome – but if it does, the Flames better be prepared to show why the city should chip in.

“For me, it is extremely difficult to justify spending very scarce public money on a professional sports arena,” mayor Naheed Nenshi told the Calgary Sun.

Nasheed also contrasted any potential request from the Flames with the Oilers’ request for city funds to build a new downtown arena.

“Edmonton has a very, very different context, as they need a revitalization in their downtown, which we don’t need as much,” he said. “Before I was elected I told the Flames, ‘if you want to have that conversation, I’m willing to have that conversation.’ So far, they haven’t brought me anything. I’m still waiting for some analysis and an idea of what it is they want. And I have to say even when they’ve talked to me informally, they’ve never asked for public money.”

The Saddledome opened in 1983, making it the fifth-oldest rink in the NHL. The Flames’ lease expires in 2014; however, that isn’t a deadline by any means. Leases can be extended.

The oldest NHL arena is Madison Square Garden, but considering the home of the Rangers is currently undergoing a massive renovation, it can’t be deemed obsolete.

After MSG, it goes Nassau Coliseum on Long Island (opened 1972), Rexall Place in Edmonton (1974), and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit (1979).

Speaking of which…

Islanders arena is No. 2…on a list of the nation’s worst stadiums

Edmonton officials cease negotiations for new Oilers arena

Report: Architects hired to design new Red Wings arena

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    How bad is that arena? No one seems to complain about it the same way folks do about Nassau Coliseum or Rexall Place.

  2. DTF31 - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    It’s not a sports arena. That’s the same problem a lot of people in Edmonton have seeing. Hockey is only 40 some nights a year. The other 200ish is concerts and expos.

  3. atwatercrushesokoye - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    The Dome is still serviceable, it’s not run down or anything, but it doesn’t have as many suites as I’m sure the Flames would like. Also because of the design of the roof (limits on weights for lights etc) and the fact that they put in a new scoreboard a few years ago that they cant remove (the previous jumbo tron could be lowered and removed when needed) many of the biggest concerts are avoiding Calgary and instead going to Edmonton.

  4. blomfeld - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    The Saddledome is sadly the “least” of the Flame’s problems …

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