The Calgary Flames are one step closer to a new arena.
The City of Calgary has reached agreements with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), which owns the Flames, the Province of Alberta and the Calgary Stampede to proceed on the building of an events center as part of a culture and entertainment region in the city’s Rivers District in the east end of downtown Calgary.
The announcement was made Tuesday in Victoria Park, just north of Scotiabank Saddledome at the proposed site of the new arena.
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of so much work by so many and is fantastic news for the city of Calgary, the province of Alberta and the Calgary Flames,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “I want to thank Mayor Gondek, Premier Smith, Councilwoman Sharp, the Calgary Stampede, and the ownership of the Flames, led by Murray Edwards, for their tireless efforts in bringing us to this day.
“And I extend special thanks to the terrific hockey fans of Calgary for their unflinching support of their team and our League. We can’t wait to drop the puck in a new, state-of-the-art arena and look forward to what this development will do for all Calgarians.”
There is no timeline on the completion of a new events center and surrounding Rivers District, which is estimated to cost more than $1.2 billion.
The events center itself is projected to cost $800 million, and will house CSEC properties including the Flames, Calgary Wranglers of the American Hockey League, Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, and Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League.
CSEC will contribute $356 million to the project, including $40 million up front and $17 million per year, increasing 1 percent per year, over 35 years.
The city will contribute $537.3 million to help fund the development of the events center, parking, an enclosed plaza, and a portion of an additional community rink to be constructed. The province will contribute $330 million, with $300 million earmarked for transportation improvements, land, and infrastructure costs and $30 million towards the community rink. The Calgary Stampede has agreed to certain land sales and transfers to facilitate the development.
Scotiabank Saddledome, which opened in 1983, is the NHL’s second-oldest arena. Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Rangers since 1968, completed an extensive renovation in 2013.
The Flames and City of Calgary previously reached an agreement in July 2019 for the development of a new events center located just north of Scotiabank Saddledome on land owned by the Calgary Stampede. The plan, which included a 19,000-seat arena, was scrapped in December 2021 after a failed conclusion relating to the escalating expenditures, including risk associated with inflation and additional infrastructure and climate costs.
But talks resumed last October after the city council voted to recruit a third party to bring all those involved back to the table in January 2022.
“We are really excited today to be part of an announcement we’re going to have a new home of the Calgary Flames, Calgary Hitmen, Calgary Roughnecks and Calgary Wranglers,” CSEC president and CEO John Bean said.