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Flames “Pulling the Plug” on Arena Deal per Calgary Mayor

Another big development in the saga

Sports Contributor Archive 2016 Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

After what seemed to finally be peace on the CSEC vs City of Calgary arena negotiation front, it appears we have hit another stalemate as the Flames are reportedly ready to walk away from the deal. This information has come directly from the Calgary’s mayor Jyoti Gondek on her Twitter feed, announcing it shortly after 6:00PM MT in a six tweet thread.

The main hang-up in this deal is the additional ~$16.1M in costs that have been found by the mayor’s office and administration regarding “climate mitigation” and “road/sidewalk right of way issues”. The city came to the table with $6.4M which would leave $9.7M for the Flames to cover, but it appears they are unwilling to cover either some or all of this amount.

The orignal deal from 2019 had both sides splitting the $550M price tag evenly, plus additional value added by the city for things like the Saddledome demolition, and work to prevent flooding of the area in the future. Both sites added money to the deal this past summer to account for potential cost overruns. It should be noted that Gondek (who was a councillor at the time) did not support that new deal but it was passed through council.

While this could be a matter of both sides attempting to position themselves in a positive light to fans and taxpayers (we haven’t seen CSEC’s response yet), it is sure to provide another frustrating chapter in this long-running arena saga. With construction having been slated to begin in early 2022, this will surely mean there will be more delays on this project, and if the Flames are serious, maybe no project at all.

For Flames fans who finally felt like they had some certainty with their team being around long-term, this removes that certainty and while it doesn’t feel like the NHL would ever let the team move, it becomes more and more of an issue as the Saddledome continues to age. It is over 38 years old now and probably due for some significant renovations should no deal be found.

Here we go again.