In the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry world, Calgary elected officials and the owners of the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames franchise have hit a reef in their plans to build a new Calgary arena. Construction on the building was scheduled to start in August with a 2024 completion date. That is all up in the air because of what is called budgetary issues. In 2019, the city and the team owners agreed to a plan that would split the cost of the projected $550 million Canadian cost of the building. It appears more money will be needed for the project and someone is going to have to pick up the tab. The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation put out a statement saying “there is a difference in the current budget estimate and the program requirements for the facility.” Flames’ owners had been pushing the city to fund a building for years and once walked away from the negotiating table after there was an impasse in the building negotiations. Flames’ ownership wants a revenue generating arena but needed to get some public loonies from the city to subsidize the building’s project cost. The team continues to use the city owned Saddledome which opened in 1983 and lacks all of the revenue producing gadgets newer buildings offer.
In 2017, the Flames’ ownership threw in the towel and decided to end talks with Calgary elected officials and said they were going back to the old arena and that was it. Of course, in sports no owner ever walks away from the table stomping his or her feet and says I am not talking to you about you spending money for my factory ever again. Two years later, the two sides reached an agreement to build an arena.
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