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…