CALGARY (660 NEWS) – There will be no Olympics in 2026 in Calgary, but there are some projects that could be finished instead.
Sportsnet analyst Eric Francis has never been shy about his support for a new arena. He says now with the Olympic debate out of the way we can focus on getting a new home for the Flames.
He believes a fieldhouse should still be priority one for city council followed closely by that new rink.
“Absolutely there is an increased impetus to try and get something built in this city in order to prove that we can still do things and have that ‘can do’ attitude.”
Francis said this arena deal will be important for Naheed Nenshi’s legacy.
“He can’t just be known for someone who lost the Olympics and he screwed up that. He doesn’t want to be known as someone who also ends up ultimately costing this city an NHL franchise by not being able to broker an arena deal. So, I think there is increased pressure on this mayor to get this thing done.”
He understands Calgary isn’t looking for the same type of deal Edmonton made for it’s NHL rink, but he believes it could be a shot in the arm for the city.
“It’s not just about the money, it’s about the emotional state of this city, which is fragile at best right now, I think building things and moving forward with projects like the arena is crucial to the psyche of the city right now but also to the economy.”
He notes a new arena would not just be about the Flames, but it would also attract top caliber acts to the city.
“It’s tremendous in terms of attracting people to our city, it’s also highly beneficial for businesses, and bringing people downtown to the core to celebrate.”
He’s encouraged that he hasn’t heard any leaks coming from either side in the latest negotiations between the Flames and the city.