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Bettman backs Flames arena project

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman believes that the Calgary Flames need a new arena and that the benefits of the proposed CalgaryNEXT project go well beyond the hockey club.

In conversation with Ryan Leslie of Flames TV, Bettman suggested the project could help transform Calgary.

“There’s an opportunity, because of CalgaryNEXT, to begin to transform the city for the next generations that are to come and to provide facilities for the city that will improve the infrastructure, and among other things it will take an outdated arena and provide a new, state-of-the-art home for the Calgary Flames,” Bettman said.

The Flames currently play at Scotiabank Saddledome, which was built in 1983. It will become the oldest arena in the NHL when Edmonton’s Ice District, in 2016-17 and the Detroit Events Center, in 2017-18, open.

“There are a number of cities throughout North America that are using the opportunity to have a sports complex, including an arena, anchor the redevelopment of an area, whether it’s Los Angeles, Edmonton, Detroit, Columbus…the list goes on and on,” Bettman said. “We’re excited about the possibilities for what this will mean for Calgary, not just the Flames and their fans, but also there’s a need for it. This building, the Saddledome, will be very shortly the oldest arena in the League by a lot.”

The CalgaryNEXT proposal includes an arena and CFL stadium/fieldhouse.

“We would like state-of-the-art facilities for our fans to attend that have all of the amenities,” Bettman said. “Just as important, arenas and the surrounding projects can operate as an economic engine for a community.”

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