Calgary

Bettman blames old arena for Calgary Flames' financial situation that 'continues to deteriorate'

​NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Calgary Flames' financial situation "continues to deteriorate" as the team continues to operate out of the 35-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome.

35-year-old Saddledome could affect the team's competitiveness, NHL commissioner says

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is on a tour of Western Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

​NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Calgary Flames' financial situation "continues to deteriorate" as the team continues to operate out of the aging Scotiabank Saddledome but maintained his position that he doesn't foresee the situation changing soon.

Bettman spoke to reporters in Calgary on Friday as part of his Western Canadian tour. He said he wasn't there to make threats, yet he painted a bleak picture of the Flames' financial future if it continues to operate out of the NHL's oldest building.

Bettman said the Flames used to contribute to the NHL's revenue-sharing program, but have become increasingly reliant on it of late.

He said if the current situation continues it could affect the Flames' competitiveness and financial stability.

"This used to be a top-10 team, Calgary is one of our great markets, but again the building's the issue," Bettman said.

The Calgary Saddledome opened in 1983, making it one of the oldest arenas in the NHL. The only older facility is New York's Madison Square Garden, built in 1968. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said the Flames' proposal for a $500-million arena places a heavy tax burden on the city, but the Flames say the city's plan would ultimately see the team foot the entire cost of construction.

"There's nothing else I can tell you, this building is the oldest building in the league and there's no prospect of it being replaced," Bettman said.

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