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Report: Without a new arena, Burke says Flames could leave Calgary

Brian Burke

Brian Burke, Calgary Flames’ president of hockey operations, announces the firing of general manager Jay Feaster and assistant general manager John Weisbrod during a NHL hockey news conference Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Calgar, Alberta. Burke will serve as acting general manager. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Larry MacDougal)


Brian Burke apparently had a lot to say on Wednesday.

The Calgary Flames president of hockey operations reportedly touched on a variety of topics while speaking at an event, including his stance on concussions in hockey. He also addressed the team’s arena situation and the CalgaryNEXT project.

Flames president Ken King has even gone so far as to suggest that without a new arena, the team would consider leaving Calgary. At the time, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi released a statement saying that, "...owners of the Calgary Flames have repeatedly assured Calgarians that they would not threaten to move the team.”

According to Chris Epp of CTV Calgary, Burke took a very similar stance to King when discussing the matter Wednesday.

A refresher: The Flames currently play at the aging Saddledome, an arena that has recently drawn criticism from Burke and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. However, in August 2015, the organization unveiled its plans for a new arena project -- CalgaryNEXT -- which was originally said to cost $890 million. The original plan, however, was not feasible, according to the city of Calgary.

Nenshi warned that in order for a plan to move forward there needed to be a benefit for the public, considering the reported payment structure for the project unveiled by the Flames included public funding.

Nenshi has reportedly said in the past that the CalgaryNEXT project is “dead.” Burke’s assessment of the situation was the complete opposite, calling it “very much alive,” per Dan McGarvey of CBC.