June 5, 2014 4:30 pm
Updated: June 5, 2014 8:26 pm

Brian Burke says Saddledome is ’embarrassing,’ wants new arena


CALGARY- It’s time for the Calgary Flames to get a new home—at least, according to the team’s president of hockey operations.

While speaking to a sold out crowd at the Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning, Brian Burke said a new facility to replace the Saddledome is needed sooner than later.

“It’s embarrassing,” he said, of the aging facility. “There is one building worse than ours…the Islanders.”

Saying it was a state of the art building back in 1988, he adds it simply doesn’t measure up anymore.

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“Lower bowls in a newer arena are nine thousand seats minimum. Ours is what, six? So we are not generating revenues like other NHL buildings are.”

Burke said the whole city could benefit from a new facility.

“The weight load that the roof will bear is tiny, so a lot of the big stage acts don’t come here. So it’s not just what a hockey team gets, what it adds to a hockey team, it’s what it does to a downtown core.

“We need a new arena in Calgary. There is absolutely no reason we should watch a new building going up in Edmonton, and we should play in a 1988 arena here.”

The idea does have some support, including from the business community and at least one city councillor.

“A facility like this in inner city only grows the vibrancy and dynamic energy of a downtown or inner city core,” says Adam Legge, president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “All the infrastructure to support those things, hotels, restaurants, are already there.”

“I was three-years-old when the Saddledome was built,” adds Ward 8 councillor Evan Woolley. “I would like to think I have grown up since then, and I know the city has.”

Despite talk about a new arena, the city has yet to receive any formal proposals.

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