The Calgary Flames announced today that they’re done trying to bilk hundreds of millions of dollars from the city to pay for a new arena, again suggesting that they’re ready and willing to relocate if that’s what it takes to get a new stadium that they don’t have to fund themselves—unless, that is, citizens speak up and voice their despair and anguish over the city’s unwillingness to gift the team’s billionaire owners a stadium. Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested that right now—six weeks from a mayoral election with the potential to oust two-term-incumbent Naheed Nenshi, who has consistently shot down the Flames’ attempts to grab public money—would be a good time for the people to speak up:
Flames CEO and president Ken King stood beside Bettman at the announcement today, saying that the team’s owners would no longer be working with the city to secure a new arena in Calgary. This comes three months after president of hockey operations Brian Burke claimed that the team would be ready to relocate if they didn’t get their way, and more than a year after a city analysis of the stadium proposal revealed that the project could cost up to $1.8 billion, with taxpayers expected to provide two-thirds of that.
King and Bettman were far less explicit with the threat of relocation today than Burke was earlier this summer—with King maintaining that they’re not actively shopping around for a new home—but the two certainly didn’t rule it out:
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A reminder: Flames co-owner N. Murray Edwards has a net worth estimated at $2.2 billion and is the 14th-richest Canadian.