Damage control for Flames after Burke’s relocation threat

AP
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Brian Burke is an outspoken guy who’s not afraid to mix it up when challenged.

Sometimes, that gets him in trouble.

Like yesterday at a business luncheon in Calgary, where he essentially threatened that the Flames would move to Quebec City if they didn’t get some public help to build a new arena.

That led Flames president and CEO Ken King to quickly issue the following statement:

“Brian Burke runs Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames and he and many Calgarians have strong views about this topic. However, he is not our spokesperson regarding a new events centre for our city. We remain committed to our dialogue with the City and very optimistic we will get to a positive conclusion. We admire everyone’s enthusiasm on this subject.”

Burke’s remarks came after he was challenged by a season-ticket holder, per the Calgary Sun:

“I’m not sure what the benefit is to taxpayers…Right now, you guys are getting a building for free, you’re paying no rent at all,” said MacRae, whose family has held seasons tickets for more than three decades.

“But at least if you build a bunch of condos on a site, the city will benefit from a lot of tax revenue.”

Burke lashed back, reiterating that if the Flames don’t get the support they need to build a new rink, they could easily move the team elsewhere.

“Where are you going to go?” MacRae challenged.

Then Burke replied: “Quebec. Oh yeah they have a brand new building that meets NHL standards.”

The Saddledome opened in 1983 and hasn’t had a major renovation in over two decades. That means when the Red Wings move into their new home next season, the Flames will play in the NHL’s oldest building, not counting Madison Square Garden, which recently underwent a $1 billion renovation.

But the Flames have been trying to mend their relationship with the city, and Burke’s relocation threat won’t help that.

In the past, Burke has called the Saddledome “embarrassing.”