Ottawa staying out of Calgary’s arena battle
CALGARY Canada’s minister of sport has fond memories of when the Calgary Flames relocated to the city from Atlanta in 1980.
“I remember doing a project on the Calgary Flames coming to Calgary when I was at Jerry Potts elementary school,” Kent Hehr, who grew up in Calgary, said Thursday when he was in the city.
“Me and my buddy Trent, we had a scrapbook. We built a little stadium. That sense of excitement that kids still have today around the Flames exists and it puts us on the map as a community.”
But Hehr, Calgary’s representative in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, wasn’t willing to go beyond a stroll down memory lane when it comes to the National Hockey League team’s quest for a new arena.
Hehr said he doesn’t see a role for the federal government, even in a mediation capacity, but understands the importance of the team to the city.
“I understand they add value and they add enjoyment and my constituents feel connected.”
Earlier this week, the Flames said they were pulling out of arena talks with the city. Team president Ken King said the team’s owners believe they can’t make a deal because negotiations have been unproductive. But they are committed to keeping the Flames in Calgary for now, he added.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the city remains at the negotiating table for a new arena and is ready to negotiate in good faith.