NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirms he’s had talks with Calgary mayor
CALGARY — There’s been a lot of talk all season about the state of the aging Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
But it’s come mainly from the visitors’ dressing room, often from players who played the previous night in Edmonton. The comments from the opposition are generally not so flattering when comparing Calgary’s arena to the Oilers’ lavish new Rogers Place.
There was more talking on Wednesday, this time between two parties that have considerably more at stake than NHL teams on a road trip.
As NHL commissioner Gary Bettman met with media in his annual tour of NHL cities, he confirmed that he spoke earlier in the day with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi. The idea of a new facility for the Flames to call home was one of the discussion points.
“I actually spent an hour this afternoon with the mayor. We had a very cordial, open, candid conversation,” Bettman said. “I’m hopeful that the city and the Flames can be on the same page so this can move forward as quickly as possible.”
Opened in 1983, Calgary plays in the third-oldest arena in the league. By next October when the Detroit Red Wings open the doors to their new Little Caesars Arena, it will be second oldest. The only facility older is Madison Square Garden and, while that iconic building in downtown New York was built in 1968, it underwent extensive renovations just a few years ago.
The closest thing to renovations in Calgary of late would have been the water damage repairs needed because of the 2013 Alberta floods.
“This building was built in the 1980s, they don’t build buildings like this any more,” said Bettman. “It’s a grand old building, it’s got a great roof-line, it’s historic in many ways. but these aren’t the facilities that our hockey teams typically have.”
Bettman says more than anything, it’s the fan experience that suffers.