By MARK MEYER Calgary Flames president and CEO Brian Burke said Tuesday he would be open to a proposal from the city of Calgary for the city to be the host of the NHL team’s new arena and training complex.
The Flames’ arena proposal was made public Wednesday, with the NHL not commenting on the details of the bid.
But Burke said the city has a great deal of leverage in the process, saying the city and its citizens should be treated equally.
The NHL has been negotiating with Calgary to host its 2026-27 season.
Burke said the Flames proposal would include a downtown arena, and that the city could be the site for a training complex for the Calgary Hitmen.
“I think the NHL will be more interested in Calgary’s position as a potential host of an NHL team if we’re willing to host the new training complex and building,” Burke said.
“If the city was able to get a deal done with the city, that would give us more leverage in our negotiations with the team.”
The NHL announced the relocation of its Calgary team to St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the summer of 2021.
The St. Johns team will be owned by the New York Islanders and play in the Memorial Cup, the largest annual outdoor game in North America.
Burkes said the NHL would not rule out a new team moving to Calgary for a series of games in 2019.
“We are very committed to playing at the best facilities we can in Calgary,” he said.
“That is the biggest priority for us and our fans.”
Burke also said the new team’s attendance and television ratings are the only indicators the Flames are heading in the right direction.
The city of St. Louis hosted the Calgary Flames in the 2010-11 season.
The new arena is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.