$550-mn center to come as breath of fresh air for Calgary Flames

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Calgary Flames new arena Image: Rossetti / Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames could kick off the 2024-2025 season in their new Victoria Parks lodgings – the $550-million event center.

The demolition of Scotiapark Saddledome in Calgary, Canada – home of professional ice hockey team Calgary Flames – won’t happen until after its replacement is completed.

Clare LePan, spokesperson for Calgary Municipal Land Corp (CMLC), informed that the construction center work will commence in 2021 and a 30-month-timeline has been set to complete construction. CMLC will quarterback the project.

LePan couldn’t specify exactly the construction commencement date but said the center would definitely open its doors keeping in mind the October 2024 Flames’ season opener.

“We don’t have definitive dates. . . We’d like the facility to be completed in advance of the NHL season starting. A huge amount has been done to get here but it’s now turned into a living, breathing project that has to be realized,” said LePan.

She further stated that the new facility would now be a reality after years of wrangling and verbal sparring over the need for a replacement for the 36-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome.

Councilor Jeff Davison, who engineered the deal for the center, said the next step would be to determine what will be the get-up of the new facility and a clear picture will emerge only after September 5. Post-September 5, a CMLC report — on how public engagement will proceed — goes to the city’s Event Centre Assessment Committee, said Davison.

“Calgarians have said loud and clear this is not just going to be a hockey facility, it’s something that can be used for more than one purpose. Calgarians are tired of going to Edmonton for those,” he said.

Right now, the focus is on that the 19,000-seat facility should be capable of hosting major events, something which Saddledome could not.

The new facility will sit on a three-hectare site at 12 Avenue and 4 Street S.E. on Calgary Stampede-owned land now occupied by parking lots.

However, councilor Jeromy Farkas is losing his sleep over the fact that the trail of destruction left behind in Saddledome during the 2013 flood may occur again in the new venue and no back-up plan is in place.

Nevertheless, he said that as area councilor he will “roll up his sleeves to make sure it’s a success.”

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