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A rundown on the ongoing process for a new arena

by KEN KING @NHLFlames /

Flames Fans and all Calgarians.

Confused about news reports about threats or non threats about a new arena?

So are we.

So let's explain.

Before that though let's all agree that our primary focus is the Stanley Cup playoffs and the thrill of the hunt. Nothing, including our fiscal challenges, should interrupt the joy and community pride of a playoff run. We look forward to all of us sharing in the excitement.

To be clear, no one has any obligation to meet the Flames needs for a new building to play in. Any arrangement must meet all hurdles of public scrutiny and we welcome that part of the process when and if it comes.

Our goal is simple. We need a place to play that provides long term economic stability and allows us to be competitive.

If the City feels an event centre is an important piece of infrastructure for Calgary and can be our new home as well as provide the gathering place for community, cultural and entertainment events, we are prepared to participate in its cost.

All of which brings us to the news reports of threats to move. In response to a question, are you going to use the threat of moving as a tactic, I said we would not. I also said we would "just move." The facts are we need a solution and if it is deemed that there is no made in Calgary solution we will have to make a decision at that time, which logically could include deciding to move the team. It is merely one out of a few possible outcomes if we are unable to reach a deal with the City that will work for both sides.

No one, including me, should speculate on what the decision will be. Time will tell.

Now, a quick history of our process:

1. In August, 2015, we presented a concept, CalgaryNEXT, that included an event centre, public fieldhouse and football stadium.

2. The City reviewed the concept and, in their view, determined it was not feasible. We challenged their findings in city council in June, 2016, with some success.

3. An alternate City vision for a Victoria Park event centre was brought forward (by the City) and council directed a comparison to CalgaryNEXT be made and brought to council by late October, 2016.

4. Just prior to the October comparison we were asked to abandon CalgaryNEXT in favour of exploring the Victoria Park city vision. We did not agree to abandon CalgaryNEXT, but did agree to put the comparison on pause while we listened to their proposal. We did so with the understanding the process would be expedited and that certain parameters would be understood to be our position. This was agreed to by both parties.

5. Since October, 2016, to now we have been meeting with City administration on the Victoria Park option. Recently we received their proposal in response to our stated parameters in which there are differences. We continue to meet for further discussion.

I hope this clarifies things a bit. 

We can assure you that we continue to meet privately with senior City administration in an attempt to find a beneficial solution for all Calgarians and southern Albertans.

Ken King

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