Tension Still Apparent Between Flames, Re-Elected Calgary Mayor On Arena Impasse
The arena impasse between Calgary Sports & Entertainment and the city "heated up" on Monday night during the mayoral election, with a "pair of since deleted tweets suggesting some bad blood remains amidst the stalled talks," according to Shawn Logan of the CALGARY HERALD. As mayor-elect Naheed Nenshi began to "pull away," Flames Dir of Communications & Media Relations Sean Kelso took to Twitter. Kelso tweeted, "Having @Nenshi as mayor is worse than @realDonaldTrump being president." It came a few hours after CS&E VP/Sports Property Sales & Marketing Gordon Norrie made his own election pitch on Twitter "long before polls had closed." He tweeted, "A great day for change! Cast your vote today for change!" Yesterday, CS&E responded with a statement, noting "neither comment should be interpreted as the position of the company that owns the NHL team." Nenshi said that he is "holding no grudges against the Flames, and will reopen negotiations" on a new arena if approached. However, Nenshi noted for CS&E to "suggest the two senior staffers aren’t speaking on behalf of the organization is questionable, and pointed to the fact he has been targeted often during the campaign" (CALGARY HERALD, 10/18).
COMING TO A HALT: In Calgary, Eric Francis writes the chances of a new arena being built anytime soon "just got even more remote." The re-election of Nenshi for four more years "means the principal players who were involved in grinding negotiations to a halt remain in place." The Flames are "not without blame in the deterioration of the situation and certainly haven’t played their cards well in all this." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s "attempts to influence things backfired when he said he knew all along a deal couldn’t be made with Nenshi." Not surprisingly, Nenshi had a "different version of the conversation with Bettman as part of the He said/Nenshi said squabbling that made two things clear: the Flames see Nenshi as the single-biggest impediment to getting a deal done, and: Nenshi is hellbent on standing up to what he sees as bullying by the Flames" (CALGARY SUN, 10/18). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell noted the Flames throughout the mayoral campaign "insisted they weren’t in the business of politics." But they "didn’t stick to sports." They went about on a "public campaign to discredit" Nenshi. Now, the "parameters of the debate just changed." If the Flames want a new arena and want to "get moving on it within the next four years, they no longer have the luxury of trying to oust the mayor" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 10/17).