Ottawa won’t get involved in Flames arena fight

Ottawa won’t get involved in Flames arena fight

CALGARY — Canada’s minister of sport has fond memories of when the Calgary Flames relocated to the city from Atlanta in 1980.

“I remember doing a project on the Calgary Flames coming to Calgary when I was at Jerry Potts elementary school,” Kent Hehr, who grew up in Calgary, said Thursday when he was in the city.

“Me and my buddy Trent, we had a scrapbook. We built a little stadium. That sense of excitement that kids still have today around the Flames exists and it puts us on the map as a community.”

But Hehr, Calgary’s representative in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, wasn’t willing to go beyond a stroll down memory lane when it comes to the National Hockey League team’s quest for a new arena.

Hehr said he doesn’t see a role for the federal government, even in a mediation capacity, but understands the importance of the team to the city.

“I understand they add value and they add enjoyment and my constituents feel connected.”

Earlier this week, the Flames said they were pulling out of arena talks with the city. Team president Ken King said the team’s owners believe they can’t make a deal because negotiations have been unproductive. But they are committed to keeping the Flames in Calgary for now, he added.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the city remains at the negotiating table for a new arena and is ready to negotiate in good faith.

“I am certain the municipal government has the ability and skills to deal with this at the local level,” Hehr said Thursday. “Mr. King and Mr. Nenshi are both very capable, honourable people who are going to continue, hopefully, to work together for a long, long time.”

The initial $890-million CalgaryNext project the Flames pitched two years ago included an ice arena, football stadium and field house built on the west side of downtown.

The team’s owners offered $200 million of their money and proposed a $250-million loan to be repaid through a ticket surcharge, with the city covering the rest.

Council disagreed with the CalgaryNext price tag, saying the project would cost about $1.8 billion when cleanup of creosote-soaked soil was included.

CalgaryNext moved to the back burner when council showed more enthusiasm for building an arena closer to the existing 34-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome in a planned arts and entertainment district on the downtown east side.

Hehr said he will continue to watch the situation with interest and remains optimistic.

“I’m certain that people are going to continue to work together to try and build a better community and have professional sports being part of the mix here.”

Just Posted

Exclusive Video: Joshua Frank explains shooting Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus

Frank and Jason Klaus are facing triple murder charges in the deaths Klaus’ parents and sister

Medicinal marijuana referral clinic to open in Red Deer this month

Local Compass Cannabis Clinic to open by Nov. 30

Proposed trails for Riverside Meadows could provide “natural surveillance”

A proposal to add trails to Riverside Meadows has some residents hoping… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Bower Place aims to demolish Target, redevelop east side of mall

A major design of Bower Place could see the now-vacant Target demolished… Continue reading

Nutrition program continues to fuel students

Red Deer school expands program

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month