Calgary Flames pull out of arena negotiations during civic election campaign

Ruben Hill
September 14, 2017

Saying there has been a lack of progress in their talks with city officials, the Calgary Flames have stated that they are not interested in pursuing a new arena in Calgary.

A day after Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation president and CEO Ken King dropped a bombshell by saying the ownership group of the National Hockey League team was ending its quest for a new arena, Nenshi said the declaration was unexpected.

He reiterated that council negotiated in good faith and are still willing to keep talking and find an option.

"Council understands the importance of the Flames to this city, council understands the importance of having the Flames downtown. We worked very hard to come up with a deal that makes sense in this economy, without impacting people's taxes".

A proposal to put an arena on the west side of downtown took a backseat to talks of building it on the east side instead.

The city offered to pay one-third of the cost, which would have to be repaid, while a ticket surcharge would pay for another third and the final third by the CSEC, sources said. The Flames and Calgary have reportedly had difficulty agreeing on the financial terms of an arena project.

Nenshi said he would comment Wednesday as he was in council meetings when the Flames made their announcement.

The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday the city offered to pay a third of the cost, but that money had to be paid back.

Chabot said he doesn't think it's the best strategy at this point to reveal council's end of the deal for the public to see.

"I can tell you the city has a very fair offer on the table".

"The city has a very fair offer on the table, I think one that many Calgarians will see, most Calgarians will see as eminently reasonable", he said Wednesday.

Sources tell Rogers Media the Flames sourced the cost of an arena at Victoria Park at roughly $500 million, while the City pegged it at roughly $600 million.

"I was certainly a little bit surprised because we have been at the table, we didn't get any advance warning of this", he said.

The Flames' withdrawal coincides with Nenshi ramping up his mayoral campaign, although King denied making the arena an election issue. "I think there's a different view of what the kind of participation should be and that's where it's at", said King.

The NHL may be welcoming a new team in the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18, but the headlines say there's just as much, if not more, talk about the teams that could be looking for new homes beyond this season.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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