Without a new arena, Ken King suggests Flames would consider leaving Calgary

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The back-and-forth continues between the Calgary Flames and the City of Calgary as the two sides discuss the prospects of a new facility for that NHL club.

Flames president Ken King has recently taken the discussion to a rather interesting level, first in conversation with Sportsnet Fan 590 and then with the Calgary Herald on Saturday.

Here is what he said to Sportsnet, per CBC:

“There would be no threat to move, we would just move, and it would be over. And I’m trying my level best to make sure that day never comes, frankly,” King said during an interview on Sportsnet Fan 590 in Toronto on Wednesday. 

“If people smarter than us in more powerful positions than ours don’t feel that we’re a critical piece of the social, economic and cultural part of our city, then who are we to argue with that?”

In August of 2015, the Flames unveiled their plans for a new arena — the CalgaryNEXT project originally said to have a cost of $890 million.

However, the city has said the original plan was not “feasible” and mayor Naheed Nenshi has in the past warned that in order for a plan to move forward there needs to be a benefit for the public, considering the reported payment structure for the project unveiled by the Flames included public funding.

Per reports, Nenshi said earlier this week that the Flames’ CalgaryNEXT plan is “dead.”

In an interview with the Calgary Herald, King clarified his remarks made to Sportsnet radio but added that the Flames have no future at the Saddledome — an aging facility that has drawn criticism from Brian Burke and Gary Bettman.

“Our current situation is not viable in the near or long-term,” King told the Calgary Herald. “That’s why we’re having this discussion is about a new facility. So, if we’re successful in that initiative, our near and long-term future is here (in Calgary). If not, we have to decide what the alternatives are … Anyone can connect the dots to how many choices we have left.

“If we don’t get a deal, what are our choices?”

The mayor responded with a statement Saturday afternoon:

“I am confident that a new project that has public benefit for public money exists, and I know both sides are working very hard on that. The owners of the Calgary Flames have repeatedly assured Calgarians that they would not threaten to move the team, and I assume that they have not shifted from that position. I plan to enjoy the playoff run while letting the conversations continue!”

Oh yeah. The Flames are in the playoffs.