Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: Back in the Saddle(dome)?

Alberta politicians delivered a bit of bad, or at least unfavorable, news for the Katz group and the Edmonton Oilers on Friday - well, the news was for the Calgary Flames but the ramifications also hit home on this end of the QE-2.

Like the Oilers, the Flames are in the planning stages for a new, state of the art arena - and like the Oilers, they're not exactly sure where all the money for the project will come from.

The one place it won't be coming from is the provincial government.

The Calgary Herald quotes Premier Ed Stelmach as saying "It's very clear: we're not putting money into arenas." The province says it will help out with transportation infrastructure, but that's it.

Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier furthered Stelmach's point, telling the Herald they would supply the land but "the city is certainly not in a financial position to be building an arena."

The government's announcement won't sting as much in Edmonton though - Oilers owner Daryl Katz is promising $100-million towards a new building and has already taken the next step towards a new arena (and entertainment complex) by securing some land downtown.

Oilers President Patrick LaForge wouldn't speculate on the need for tax dollars to help out, but local businessman Lyle Best, who chaired the New Arena Feasibility Committee last year, recently said he didn't think it could happen without public money.

For their part, the city recommended last year that a mix of public and private money be used to fund the development.

Maybe it’s just me – but doesn’t this sound like a situation that anyone with a brother or sister has seen play out a thousand times?

Both kids want a new toy but mommy and daddy can only afford one – so no one gets anything (and they’ll turn this car right around!!!!!).

The older brother (the Oilers) has a job (Daryl Katz), so he can probably just save up and buy the toy, while the younger brother (the Flames) is just waiting for his big bro to move out.

If Calgary gets a new arena, I think they should build it on top of the Saddledome in the shape of a cowboy. But that’s just me.

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