Ot­tawa stay­ing out of Cal­gary’s arena bat­tle

Medicine Hat News - - SPORTS - BILL GRAVELAND

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.

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