Gary Bettman on Flames' arena: 'It needs to be replaced'

No news isn’t necessarily good news for the Calgary Flames and their continued pursuit of a new arena.

It’s now been a month since Naheed Nenshi overcame the franchise’s not-so-subtle attempts to boot him from office to earn a third term as Calgary mayor. His overwhelming victory is now forcing the Flames and the NHL to draw up a new strategy to gather enough taxpayer dollars to help replace the oldest arena in the league, which is becoming less and less suited to host NHL hockey with each passing home date.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated at the recent Yahoo Finance Summit that the Flames must find some common ground with city officials, or risk losing market viability.

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“It needs to be replaced, and if the team is going to maintain its competitiveness and be viable for the long term, they’re going to need a new arena.”

In other, prospectively-related arena news, the NHL recently held preliminary discussions with Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta about the viability of bringing a second franchise to Texas, according to a recent report from Katie Strang of The Athletic.

Expansion to either Houston, Kansas City or Seattle would be the preferred option in the establishment of a new NHL franchise, given the current imbalance between conferences. That said, should the NHL uncover more than one viable market to explore, the squeeze will tighten on the Flames, who have no greater rival right now than their own municipal leader.

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