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New arena for Flames an issue for team and city, not Olympic bid group

New arena for Flames an issue for team and city, not Olympic bid group
Published On: Thu, Sep 13
(EDITORS NOTE: caption correction) Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Matthew Tkachuk puts on a team jersey after being selected as the number six overall draft pick by the Calgary Flames in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Those whoa€™ve been following Calgarya€™s potential Olympic bid werena€™t surprised this weeka€™s proposed budget unveiling said nothing of a new, NHL-sized arena. While casual observers outside Calgary are gob-smacked a legacy project of this undertaking wouldna€™t include the most obvious of fixtures, the reality is the Olympic and arena issues are mutually exclusive.

The sticker shock of hearing a price tag of $5.23 billion for the 2026 Games will only land the city two new sporting venues is hard for many to swallow, especially when one doesna€™t include an NHL-sized rink. Granted, the city is already equipped with most of the winter venues required, thanks to the 1988 Games and the legacy fund that came with it. Ita€™s the reason why Calgary is even considering an Olympic do-over.

What Calgary 2026 officials revealed before city councilors voted Tuesday to proceed to a Nov. 13 plebiscite, is that $400 million has been earmarked to build a 6,000-seat arena and a fieldhouse in the Foothills cluster between McMahon Stadium and the University of Calgary.
Theya€™ve also pledged to spend a portion of the $500 earmarked for eight venue upgrades on places like 58-year-old McMahon Stadium and the 35-year-old Saddledome.

Perhaps now is a good time to reconsider this: the Flamesa€™ CalgaryNEXT proposal in the west village was tabbed at $900 million by the club (which the city disputes) and the Flames woulda€™ve paid for half of it (which the city also disputes). It would have included a world-class NHL-sized stadium, a 25,000-seat football/soccer stadium and a fieldhouse all in one.

Now thata€™s a legacy.

Did we happen to mention the Flamesa€™ proposal also included a 5,000-seat practice facility as well?

However, because the Olympic bid and the Flamesa€™ quest to get a new venue are completely separate issues, the five-ring budget will spend untold millions upgrading the aging Dome and McMahon Stadium instead.

What a waste.

Read the complete news article here...

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