Calgary mayor to Burke: ‘Don’t try to inflame people’

Posted: 13/06/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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Naheed Nenshi wants Brian Burke to stop riling people up.

“Don’t try to make headlines,” Calgary’s mayor told the Calgary Sun’s Rick Bell when asked if he had any advice for the Flames president of hockey operations Thursday. “Don’t try to inflame people.”

Nenshi was critical of several comments the Flames‘ president of hockey operations made at a public speaking engagement Wednesday, including Burke’s soft threat of relocation if the hockey club doesn’t get a new facility and the executive’s comparison of the Flames’ plight to the Edmonton Oilers‘ arena situation.

The mayor says he saw right through what he believes Burke was trying to do.

“Seriously, it’s the script,” Nenshi said. “We’ve seen this movie before. The point is we need a different ending here in Calgary.”

The Oilers moved into their new arena, Rogers Place, last fall, and that building was constructed with more public money than Nenshi wants used on any future Flames facility.

“I want it to end in something that doesn’t look like Edmonton, that is a deal where any public money is very clear and it absolutely leads to public benefit,” the mayor said.

He added, “(The Oilers) had a very different situation. They had a derelict part of their city. They hadn’t had a skyscraper built in the downtown in who knows how long. They needed to try and really revitalize their downtown. We are a completely different environment. To ask for that deal in a completely different environment isn’t going to fly with taxpayers. It can’t just be, ‘Give us the deal the guys up the road got.'”

Flames president and CEO Ken King was quick to engage in damage control Wednesday, addressing Burke’s comments with a brief statement insisting Burke “is not our spokesperson regarding a new events center for our city.”

Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome is the oldest arena in the NHL that hasn’t undergone extensive renovations, having opened in 1983.

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