Calgary Flames want media, public left out of negotiations if arena talks restart

Calgary Flames president Ken King speaks to reporters about the team's position on the Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The president and CEO of the Calgary Flames says the team is open to restarting talks about a new arena in Calgary, but only if media and the public are left out of preliminary talks.

In a letter to Councillor Jeff Davidson obtained by Global News, Ken King said the team “would never deny a formal request for a meeting,” but said there are concerns looming with regards to previous negotiations.

“We would like to have a preliminary discussion to determine what may have changed in the city’s view to warrant our re-engaging,” the letter reads.

“Moreover, if we are to proceed, a simple and pre-emptive imperative is media silence.

“Public and/or media involvement must only be rendered in the event of an agreement.”

READ MORE: Flames no longer looking for new arena in Calgary: Ken King

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Talks between the city and the professional hockey team broke down last year after the two parties failed to see eye to eye after months of negotiations, namely the funding model.

A new arena has been back on the forefront of many councillors’ minds after Calgary City Council approved a new committee in May aimed at restarting the talks.

Two options had been bounced around as potential homes for a new arena; the first was CalgaryNEXT which would have been built in the west end of the city.

The second option, dubbed the Victoria Park Option, would have had the new arena built near where the ailing Saddledome sits.

Davidson said Tuesday this is just the start of a bigger process.

“I’m not expecting the Flames would ever come back, waving flags saying, ‘Thank God, we’re ready to go,'” he said.

“I mean, this is really about: let’s see where this goes.”

Global News’ request to the Flames for comment was denied Tuesday evening.

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