News / Calgary

Calgary Flames president suggests team is closing in on arena site

Ken King says they've been meeting regularly with city on Plan B

Ken King, shown here at the unveiling of the CalgaryNEXT plan, says the Flames have been in talks with the city about plan B - an arena near the current Saddledome.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Ridewood

Ken King, shown here at the unveiling of the CalgaryNEXT plan, says the Flames have been in talks with the city about plan B - an arena near the current Saddledome.

It wasn't visiting NHL commissioner Gary Bettman with the latest sound bite on a new downtown Calgary arena, it was Flames president Ken King.

In the opening address to a crowd at the Chrysler Club at the Scotiabank Saddledome for the Commissioner's luncheon Wednesday, King told the audience they've been working closely with the city on a Plan B - or the Victoria Park option. It's the clearest indication yet of a potential future location for a new arena for the Calgary Flames, though not an entirely new one.

King said they were asked to consider this option last year and noted they'd been meeting with the city nearly every Thursday since last October, with some progress.

"Sometimes these things move along more slowly than we'd like, but good things never come easy," King told the crowd.

Earlier this year, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation announced that a new, $150 million Victoria Park master plan was in the works, and in early March councillors were talking about a "cultural and entertainment district" referenced in a city document. There was no clear indication that a new arena would be part of that plan.

For his part, Bettman held little back in extolling the virtues of Edmonton's new Rogers Place arena, which he toured the evening prior.

"I knew the plans, I'd seen it under construction, but the final result was beyond my imagination," Bettman said of the crown jewel in Edmonton's new Ice District.

"No knock on (the Saddledome), but it is old, and the ways these buildings get built has changed dramatically since this one was built back in the early 80s."

Bettman told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he wanted to help keep the Flames and the city on the same page in new arena talks, saying it was in both sides' best interest to get a deal done sooner rather than later because of possible escalation in costs.

The mayor's office confirmed that Bettman did meet with Mayor Nenshi during his stop in Calgary.

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