With news breaking that Ken King and the Flames have decided to stop working with the City of Calgary on a new arena, I thought that it would be the neighbourly thing to do to offer them our old one.
With the Saddledome being old and busted, and your division rivals getting a brand new arena to go along with their Connor McDavid, it’s understandable that some Flames fans are feeling a little bit salty with this announcement. Because we’re kind people, I want to give the Calgary Flames a chance at rebuilding their public image by taking advantage of the good vibes that are going on in Edmonton. Playing at Rexall Place could help you do that. Playing at the arena that housed the Oilers through some of the darkest days in franchise history will help you keep perspective on how to be bad at hockey, toy with the fans, and still getting what you want.
If you can learn anything from the Oilers, and let’s face it you can learn a lot about how to get a new arena, it’s that you have to have a backup plan. For the Oilers, Seattle was their “backup plan.” Just think of how ballsy it would be if you told the Calgary City Council that you’re moving the team to Edmonton because we know how to get new arenas done. Think of the swagger you would have in your step as you walked out of the council chamber. That’s the kind of balls that you only read about, my friends. And since we’re good neighbours, and embarrassing you during the Battle of Alberta is important to us, we’re offering up some space in the old unit to give you guys a bit more time to figure things out.
Admittedly, if you guys move up here there are going to be some problems that we’ll have to work out, but I think we can ultimately get this done. I’ll get us started.
Simple house rules…
- First rule. Don’t look at Connor or even think about Connor. I’m no scientist that can prove that visual illness transmission is actually a thing but I can’t prove that it’s not a thing either. Connor McDavid is off limits. Full stop. Case closed.
- Re-read rule number one.
- We’re going to need to figure out what the hell to do with your fans. I mean, there are Flames fans that live in Edmonton but certainly not enough to fill Rexall Place. Frankly, I’m surprised there are enough combined Flames fans to fill Saddledome but that’s another story. My temporary solution is that we build tent cities on the outskirts of town so that Flames fans will have a place to live that is within a short (monitored!) bus ride away from civilization. You know where the Oil Derrick is on QE2? Think south of that. Not quite Red Deer, but somewhere far enough to be downwind and out of mind. Somewhere around there would work.
- If we’re all going to play in the same city this often then we’re going to have to set some ground rules on personal space. You can have everything within a stone’s throw of Rexall Place except for the Burger Baron that I used to eat at before games. The rest is ours. As I write this, I can almost taste that mouth watering mushroom swiss burger with reasonably priced parking as garnish. I cherish those moments and you’re not invited to enjoy any of it.
- You can look at our new arena, buy tickets for events, drive past it at your leisure, and gamble in the casino but you’re not allowed to set foot anywhere else in Rogers Place unless you have a scheduled game against the Oilers. You can find practice time at West Edmonton Mall or any other space you can find provided that it does not interfere with Edmonton Minor Hockey of any kind. You’ll also have to work around the fine citizens that are playing beer league. They have a hard enough time finding ice slots and I’ll be damned if your rich asses are going to take it from the heroes that take late ice slots on a Tuesday night.
- The Flames players can stay at either the Coliseum Inn or take their chances on the streets. If you’re going to hang out then you’re going to need to support the local economy. You can visit West Edmonton Mall on your birthday but note that the Fantasyland Hotel only has so many theme rooms and the right to refuse you service.
- Yes, the bat on 97th street does spin all the way around, and feel free to give that bad boy a push from time to time, but please don’t loiter. NAIT isn’t all that far from there and there could be impressionable youth that gets rattled by the sight of you.
- By no means are you allowed to wear your horrible jerseys or merch in public. It’s bad enough that we’re going to have a bunch of your fans living several dozen kilometres outside of our city in a tent town. We don’t need those horrible red unis polluting our vision too.
And hey, with any luck, a couple years of being terrible at hockey at Rexall Place will be more than enough time for you guys to find a new place to play in a city that will temporarily want you. I mean, you didn’t think we would want you to stay here forever, did you? This was like when parents let their kids move back home while they try to figure things out. You can’t stay forever, but you can certainly hang out and learn a few things in terms of selling the city on giving you public money.
Since I should probably have a point for wasting this much of your time, I have to say that this news out of Calgary feels like a movie that we’ve all seen before. Right now, Flames fans are angry that their ownership group is dropping threats that the team could move without an arena and who can blame them? Billionaires threatening to move hockey franchises like a kid taking his ball away is nothing but a straight shot to the nuts for the fans. It’s annoying that guys with this much cake in the fridge can’t pony up the dough on their own and do whatever it takes to build a new arena, but that’s not how they got rich. Sure, they could spend the money themselves but why would they do that when there’s a chance the city will pay for it?
Our boy pulled the same stunt back in 2012 when he was spotted in Seattle with members of the current management team in tow. Five days later, Katz put out a full page apologies in the Journal and Sun to Oilers fans for a move that he didn’t think would make us all as mad as it did. My point is that this looks a lot like the public posturing that happened in Edmonton and the fact that it’s happening before an election makes the play more obvious. From where I blog, it seems odd that the NHL would have no issues with a team that earns as much revenue as the Calgary Flames do to just up and leave without a fight to keep them there. Even if they DID move, how long would be until someone relocated a broke ass team to Calgary?*
As of right now, I guess I just have a hard time buying what the Flames are selling considering we’ve lived through this type of play ourselves. As much as it’s fun to make fun of Flames fans right we all know that the BOA is one of the best rivalries in hockey and losing out on that would be a waste. All of this public noise is already a waste. What will be interesting now is to see how the Flames react to the fallout. Right now, Twitter is angry and there are many reasons as to why, but all I can think about is when Ken King’s apology is going to hit the newspapers.
*which would be hilarious