NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is urging the city to start work on the CalgaryNext stadium as soon as possible.
Bettman spoke at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday, saying soon Calgary will have the oldest arena in the NHL.
“I’m having trouble understanding why there hasn’t been further progress on CalgaryNext,” said Bettman. He also referenced the age and state of the Flames’ current stadium as the reason why the city won’t be hosting an NHL Draft or All-Star Game until a new one is built.
Bettman also said CalgaryNext needs to be built soon, especially considering the economic climate currently plaguing Alberta. He referenced other cities where new arenas made them more for attractive for business.
The $900 million CalgaryNext project was announced in summer 2015 by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. and is proposed to build a new NHL arena, CFL stadium, and public field house in Calgary’s West Village.
The entire complex called “CalgaryNext,” is a necessary move to replace the aging Saddledome, built in 1983, and McMahon stadiums, both of which have reached their expiration date some time ago.
The proposed NHL arena will seat 19,000 people in ice hockey mode while the football stadium will seat 30,000, with retractable seating and extra space to allow for a capacity increase to 50,000 seats for special events like the Grey Cup.
The football stadium would have a translucent roof with a FIFA-sized soccer field, regulation CFL field and a 400-metre athletics track.
CalgaryNEXT will complete Calgary’s urban core and transform how Calgarians live, work and play, according to the proponents.