The most destructive floods in Alberta's history—100,000 evacuated, likely hundreds of millions in damage—did not spare the home of the Calgary Flames, on the bank of the Elbow River. The photos are incredible, and the reports of damages are severe. But the Saddledome cleanup has begun.
What Flames president Ken King called the biggest pumps in North America went into action yesterday, and crews are working 24 hours a day. King could not have put it more plainly when he addressed reporters after touring the arena: “We’re going to be ready for the opening of the season.”
There's not a lot of time: preseason games begin in mid-September. And there's a lot of work to be done: the event level is "a total loss." The locker rooms and coaches' offices are completely submerged. The Zambonis are wrecked, the media lounge and video rooms washed out, and much of the team's memorabilia and archival footage gone. Oh, and this:
Harvey the Hound's head was found floating in the middle of the Saddledome today as crews pump out an estimated 300,000,000 gallons of water— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) June 24, 2013
King says he's been in touch with Gary Bettman, though it was too premature to talk about contingency plans—where the Flames would play if the Saddledome simply can't be made ready by September. He also reached out to David Poile, GM of the Predators, who dealt with getting Bridgestone Arena playable after record-setting Nashville floods in 2010.
Well into the second day of work, the Flames say much of the 300 million gallons of water has been pumped out of the Saddledome—but the hard part comes next. Here are some photos of what the arena looked like at its worst, courtesy the Flames: