Flames CEO reportedly seeking arena plus CFL stadium, plus amateur fieldhouse to throw public a bone

Calgary Flames CEO Ken King has been promising to come out with a new arena plan for months now, and this week … he still didn’t actually come out with anything concrete, but the Calgary Herald leaked a bunch of news that it claims it has “learned” about the project, apparently from the ether, because it didn’t cite a source, not even “according to a source.” According to the Herald, King wants to:

  • Build a Flames hockey arena, a CFL stadium for the Stampeders (which King also owns), and an amateur sports fieldhouse for track meets, indoor soccer, and stuff like that.
  • Pay for the more than half-billion-dollar cost by, okay, they didn’t explain that part. But King told a radio show last month that “we’re not going to sneak in here and steal money from the city,” and he wouldn’t lie on the radio, would he?

There are a couple of clues here to how King could end up asking for subsidies while claiming he’s not asking for subsidied: The amateur fieldhouse could count as a “public benefit” of the project and thus something worthy of city dollars, the city could be asked to kick in free land, and in general big complicated projects are way easier to hide money in than small simple ones. The big question now is how Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who has previously told King in no uncertain words that he’s not going to hand over money for nothing, and the city council respond once King actually releases his plan. He says “in a couple of weeks,” but he said much the same thing in November, so maybe somebody should ask him which couple of weeks.

Calgary Stampeders: Oh, yeah, we need stadium renovations too

You know what I was just thinking Canada really needs? Another stadium demand:

The president and chief operating officer of the Calgary Stampeders held a news conference on Monday afternoon to stress that McMahon Stadium is in need of a serious facelift and that it’s also time for interested stakeholders to step up.

“I’m sure the people are aware,” he said. “Especially our fans, our sponsors, and everyone else that it’s critical for the Stampeders and this franchise and, I believe, this city for us to address a 50-year-old facility.”

For now, Stampeders president Lyle Bauer is just calling for renovated “concessions, washrooms, and general concourse amenities” at 51-year-old McMahon Stadium, and hasn’t put a price tag on it, let alone specified who’d pay. Still, consider it a warning shot across the bow: If everybody else is getting new or rehabbed stadiums, the Stamps want their piece of the action.