Gary Bettman, commissioner of the North American NHL ice hockey league, has said that he has spoken with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi over the possibility of constructing a new arena for the Canadian city’s Calgary Flames franchise.
According to Sportsnet.ca, Bettman met with Nenshi during his annual tour of NHL cities to discuss a number of matters, including a potential new home for the Flames.
The team has been based at the 19,000-capacity Scotiabank Saddledome since 1983 and has been keen to move from the arena for some time.
However, plans unveiled in August 2015 to build a combined arena, fieldhouse and American football stadium were criticised by the mayor and many residents over the proposed cost of $890m (€827.4m/£721m).
The city said that the figure was too low and did not take into account clean-up costs at the downtown site. However, the City has said that it would support a smaller-scale project of an arena only in the same area around the team’s current home.
Bettman said he is keen for Calgary Flames to move from the Saddledome, which next October will become the second-oldest venue in the NHL when the Detroit Red Wings relocate to the new Little Caesars Arena.
“I’m hopeful that the city and the Flames can be on the same page so this can move forward as quickly as possible,” Bettman said.
“This building was built in the 1980s, they don’t build buildings like this any more. It’s a grand old building, it’s got a great roof-line, it’s historic in many ways. But these aren’t the facilities that our hockey teams typically have.
“I’m not sure that people that focus on the deal in the appropriate way would say no taxpayer money. If in fact, a new project with development creates new revenues and new taxes that didn’t exist before, reinvesting it in the city, reinvesting it infrastructure, reinvesting it in quality of life, seems to make a lot of sense to me.”