So there were huge floods in Alberta starting Friday, and the Calgary Flames failed to seal all the doors at the Saddledome, and … this happened:
“It’s shocking what we are looking at,” said Libby Raines, VP Building Operations for the Calgary Flames.
“You’re eyeballing it but there’s a lot of water and it’s up to the 8th, 9th or tenth row. However, from the last report it doesn’t appear it has risen at all since then.”
Indeed that means the rink, the ice plant and a few thousand seats are submerged by the shocking overflow that swept over Stampede Park and the downtown core.
It also means the dressing rooms, the Jumbotron nerve centre, the Ed Whalen Lounge and the Hot Stove Lounge are all likely destroyed, as well. Plenty of history will likely be ruined too, including a massive championship team photo from 1989 signed by most team members that hangs outside the Flames dressing room.
The good news is that Flames CEO Ken King says insurance should cover the damage, there should be time to get the building operational in time for the upcoming NHL season, and this won’t be used as an excuse to hurry the team’s slow-burning plans for a new arena. Meanwhile: disaster porn!
Just in case you were wondering if the Calgary Flames are still looking to get a new arena like they hinted at three years ago: Oh yeah, the Calgary Flames are still looking to get a new arena.
Oilers president Patrick LaForge uses the cycling term “drafting” to describe how closely the Flames have been following Edmonton’s quest for a new arena…
However, in light of the fact Edmonton’s $475-million building plans made like Lance Armstrong and were quashed last week, one wonders what sort of implications it will have on Calgary’s bid for new digs.
“It has no effect on us,” assured Flames president Ken King.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi responded that “it is extremely difficult to justify spending very scarce public money on a professional sports arena,” but also called the Flames owners “very decent, honourable people” who are “not out to screw the public.” NBCsports.com says this means “the Flames ownership does have the respect of the current Mayor,” which I guess it does, at least compared to the scene unfolding across the province.
The Calgary Flames arena push heated up this week, with team president Ken King saying the team wants to begin construction “as soon as we can.”
That could be a while yet, though. The team still hasn’t picked a site, or figured out financing for a new arena. City and provincial elected officials have all promised that no public money will go into arena construction, but notably didn’t promise that no taxpayers funds would go for any part of an arena project: Alberta premier Ed Stelmach said he’d consider funding improvements to a light-rail line serving the arena site, while Calgary mayor Dave Bronconnier said the city could provide the land.
As for King, he was mum about any funding talk, saying only, “We will make a presentation when and if we seek public funding. In what quantum and if that’s going to take place has not been determined.” I don’t speak fluent Canadian, but that sure sounds to me like: “We’re still trying to figure out what we can get away with.”
If you’re wondering how old you have to be to be considered “antiquated,” the Canwest News Service has an answer for you:
It has born three different names in its 26-year history and has even been compared by U.S. media to a potato chip, but Calgary’s iconic Saddledome is earning yet another tag: old.
The home of the Calgary Flames is “nearing the end of its life cycle,” according to the Canwest report, and the Edmonton Oilers‘ Rexall Place, born the same year as Alanis Morissette, is “even more dated.” While neither team is currently in serious talks for new arenas, the rest of the article is dedicated to investigating who will pay for what’s deemed the inevitable, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on hand to declare, “For their future well-being and for the comfort of their fans, both teams need new arenas.” Actual fans seem less certain.