Bettman heads to Calgary but talks about new arena for Flames not on agenda
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman arrives to announce the 2019 NHL Entry Draft will be held in Vancouver, during a news conference in Vancouver on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
March 01, 2018 - 12:09 PM
EDMONTON - NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is heading to Calgary on Friday but says anything to do with a new arena for the Flames franchise is not on the agenda.
He says he'll meet with sponsors, some season ticket holders, and team officials.
But he says he won't be wading into the issue of a new rink because the Flames have decided there's no point.
"Obviously I'll get an update from the Flames, but they are no longer pursuing a new arena in Calgary so there's really nothing to talk about," Bettman told reporters in Edmonton on Thursday.
Bettman was asked if the ball is then in the city's court when it comes to getting negotiations renewed.
"There is no court," Bettman replied. "The team has decided there was no point in continuing to pursue a new arena."
The Flames pulled out of talks with the city last fall, saying negotiations were going nowhere on reaching a deal to build a new facility to replace the 34-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome.
Bettman has said previously that playing in the Saddledome threatens the team's ability to compete, and the Flames say they'll continue operations there for as long as they can remain viable and then look at options.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said the Flames' proposal for a $500-million arena places a heavy tax burden on the city, but the Flames say the city's plan would ultimately see the team foot the entire cost of construction.
Bettman was in Edmonton as part of a three-city western tour to meet with fans, officials and sponsors. He was in Vancouver Wednesday, announcing that the 2019 NHL draft would be in that city.
Bettman was asked that if talks with the City of Calgary are dead, will he discuss longer term strategies or options with the Flames?
"You'll have to talk to the Flames about this, but they have said notwithstanding the fact that they're playing in the league's oldest building they are going to do the best they can for as long as they can," he said.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2018