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Calgary arena deal officially terminated

NHL ice hockey franchise the Calgary Flames is planning for its immediate future at the Scotiabank Saddledome after confirming that a deal for a new arena has been officially terminated.

Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), parent company of the Flames, last month exited the C$634m (£368.5m/€441.2m/$498.7m) project, citing growing concern over the rising costs of its side of the venture.

CSEC confirmed the news in a statement on December 22 after Calgary’s Mayor, Jyoti Gondek, earlier said that the Flames’ ownership group intended to exit the Event Centre Project, which has had its share of contentious moments since being first unveiled in 2019.

Construction had been due to begin on the arena early this year, with an earlier decision having set January 1 as a deadline to establish whether this would happen. In a statement released yesterday (Tuesday), CSEC said the Project Framework Agreement, which governed the funding, design and construction of the Event Centre, required both contributing parties, being the City of Calgary and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, to waive construction conditions on or before December 31, 2021.

The CSEC said neither contributing party waived the conditions by the deadline, which resulted in the termination of the Project Framework Agreement and all associated agreements.

“We have always believed that Calgary needs a new Event Centre,” said John Bean, president and CEO of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. “However, under the current circumstances we do not see a path forward that would create a viable partnership with the city, which is essential for a new Event Centre to become a reality.”

Canadian broadcaster CBC said it is estimated that the two parties had spent between C$20m and C$25m on the project up to the termination of the deal.

The Flames have played at the Scotiabank Saddledome since it opened in 1983, but have long been seeking a new arena. In its announcement last month, CSEC said its “intentions are to remain” in the Saddledome.

Image: Jeff Davison