Wednesday, June 7, 2017

{allcanada} Burke: Flames could move without new rink


The Calgary Flames could relocate without a new arena, team president of hockey operations Brian Burke said on Wednesday during a speech at the Canadian Club in Calgary.

Burke's remarks come on the heels of an April 24 vote at Calgary city council that essentially shelved  CalgaryNEXT, an ambitious public-private sports complex proposal that would have seen a new arena for the Flames and a new stadium for the Calgary Stampeders.

Burke said he was surprised that the city didn't thank the team when CalgaryNEXT was proposed in 2015.

"We have the nicest building built in 1983 and it was subsequently flooded," Burke said of the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Replying to what appeared to be a question from a member of the audience regarding Flames president and ceo Ken King's comments on a possible relocation, Burke said: "What Ken King said was, ' we're not going to make a threat to move, we're just gonna to move if we don't get the deal we need.'"

On the subject of receiving public funding for a new arena, Burke noted that he doesn't believe that taxpayers in any one area are smarter than another, but wondered why leaders in Calgary felt smarter than those in Edmonton or Winnipeg, two cities who recently completed new taxpayer-funded arenas.

"The math works fine. They figured it out in Edmonton, but we're smarter here. They figured out public money is useful to rejuvenating downtown and making a statement and keeping jobs but we're smarter than that here. They figured it out in Manitoba, but we're smarter in Alberta. It's not just my view on this. Taxpayers all over Canada figured this out. Municipalities all over Canada have figured this out.

"Most intelligent people get this. … I think most people get this."

On top of the admission the team could leave without a new arena, Burke said that he believed the team would find a place in which to relocate.

In response to the comments Burke made Wednesday, King issued a statement on behalf of the team.

"Brian Burke runs Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames and he and many Calgarians have strong views about this topic. However, he is not our spokesperson regarding a new events centre for our city. We remain committed to our dialogue with the City and very optimistic we will get to a positive conclusion. We admire everyone's enthusiasm on this subject."

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