When this whole Calgary Flames and the new arena issue came up, I was on board. The Saddledome is old. The Flames need a new rink. But then I sat back and thought about it. My perspective had changed. Now is not the right time to build a new rink.
When Ken King suggested the CalgaryNext project, I didn’t have high hopes. It was too expensive and, even though it would be an asset to the community, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t the right time for such an ambitious project. It was a great concept, but just not feasible, in my opinion.
And then Gary Bettman showed up to beg Calgary for money. That probably wasn’t a good idea. Bettman’s popularity among Canadian hockey fans is questionable at best. And for him to ask a community of Canadians for money didn’t look good. It sure didn’t make me start throwing my hard-earned money around.
Now we’re at the part in the story when threats are being tossed around like campaign promises.
When King first told the media that he would consider moving the Flames if they didn’t get a new arena, my heart leaped into my throat at the prospect of losing the only NHL team I’ve ever cheered for. My heart has been with the Calgary Flames since 1988. Naturally, I panicked and thought, “Nenshi, give him the money!” Again, I sat back and thought about it. Again, common sense prevailed.
And now, reading that Brian Burke has said the same thing in the media just pisses me off. Enough with the threats. I’m not saying that I want my favourite NHL team gone. It could happen, I understand that. But mashing it into our brains and threatening us with the idea that we’ll lose our team is not going to make us spend money that we don’t have so we can keep a team we pay heavily to see. Personally, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to renew my season tickets next year because I have no money. If I have disposable income, I’d completely support the idea of a new arena. Right now, I’m still trying to work my way out of this oil crash. For someone to threaten to take away the team that I have supported for many years is a slap in the face. And it doesn’t make it any easier for me to afford those season tickets or a new rink. If anything, now I feel resentful.
Maybe because they make millions each year, Bettman, King, and Burke forget that they’re asking a community, who just went through an oil crash, to pay for an arena they can’t afford. They want money out of people who don’t have any. Have they seen the ghost town that used to be known as downtown Calgary?? People in the city can barely afford to pay their own bills, let alone another bill for a new arena. Now is not the right time to ask people in Calgary for money.
As for Burke suggesting that they’ll move the Flames to Quebec, there’s no way in hell that Bettman would ever allow that to happen. Gary Bettman is trying to Americanize the game of hockey and he’s succeeding. He gave Las Vegas a new team, but refused Quebec. How does that even make sense? Everyone knows that the Canadian market is famous for selling out arenas on the worst of nights. I can’t see how Las Vegas could sell out on any night considering the lack of potential fan base. But I digress. NHL hockey is America’s game now. And I think I’d die of shock if I ever saw Bettman agree to let a team move to Quebec.
Lastly, who the fuck am I going to cheer for if the Calgary Flames are moved?? The Oilers?! Hellz no! The Canucks?! Fuck right off. If anything, I’d cheer for the Flames who will probably be moved to somewhere like Idaho and called the Potatoes. So then I’d be dubbed a damn Potato-head. Well, at least it would only last a couple of years until the team folds because I just can’t see how hockey would fly in Idaho.
In my opinion, this is just another slap in the face to the loyal team supporters and I’m done with it. Fight your fight and good luck to you. I’m not listening to the threats anymore. That’s not how you maintain a fan base. That’s how you alienate a fan base.
If the NHL leaves Calgary, I’ll invest my money somewhere else. And that’s not a threat – it’s a guarantee.