National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman suggested Tuesday that Calgary may not be able to host any big NHL events in the future without a new arena.
Bettman made the comments while speaking to media on Tuesday evening while in Calgary to attend the Flames’ first playoff game of the 2022 post-season. He suggested that he believes there is an urgency to build a new arena for the NHL team.
“If we’re going to hold any league events here, there needs to be a new building,” he said.
“I don’t think that comes as a surprise to anybody.
“I think it’s a priority for the City of Calgary, I think it’s a priority for the Flames, I think it’s a priority for the people that live in Calgary and want concerts and family shows in addition to NHL hockey.”
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Bettman said that while he is not planning on meeting with city officials during his short trip to Calgary, he is meeting with the Flames’ ownership group on Wednesday and is sure he will “get an update.”
“I’m always optimistic,” he said. “Obviously there’s nothing going on right this second to report that would indicate that there’s going to be a solution immediately, but my hope is that everybody can figure this out.”
Since Mayor Jyoti Gondek was elected, Bettman said he has also had conversations with her about a new building, and added he remains “hopeful” that such a project will one day come to fruition.
Bettman also noted that while he believes the Flames’ arena may be due for a replacement, the one thing that isn’t in need of a tune-up is the fans.
“The fan level of enthusiasm and attachment to this team — the Flames — is always something that I marvel at,” he said. “I think the second night of our playoffs is showing that we’re off to a terrific start.”
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The Calgary Flames kicked off their playoff run on Tuesday evening against the Dallas Stars.
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