The Current

Calgary Mayor Nenshi and Flames' faceoff in stadium politics

The dispute between Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the Calgary Flames has divided the city.
The standoff between Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the Calgary Flames over building a new arena shows no sign of abating. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

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Newly re-elected Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has won fans — and detractors — for standing his ground, and taking a cautious approach to funding a new arena for the NHL's Calgary Flames. 

RelatedNenshi on the election, his mandate and a 'nasty' campaign

The NHL's Calgary Flames communications director isn't too pleased about the mayor's position.

The Flames issued a statement following the tweet that has now been deleted, saying Kelso's personal opinion didn't reflect the team's position.

More backlash continued and after Nenshi's re-election — with about 51 per cent of the vote — he responded.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is opposed to the city footing too much of the bill for a new stadium to replace the Saddledome. (CBC)

"This whole ridiculously dramatic conversation about the arena plopped into the political debate. It was really clear what was going on. If you really want to have some fun, check out one of the senior VPs of the  (Calgary Sport and Entertainment) CSEC's twitter feed ... nasty personal attacks against me, retweeting weird right-wing websites," Nenshi said.

RelatedNenshi responds to online barb from Flames staffer

Clearly, Calgary's latest municipal election got as heated — at times — as a Flames home game, and it's left some Calgarians wondering whether the home team wandered too deeply into the political process.

The Current speaks to National Post columnist Jen Gerson, sportscaster Bruce Dowbiggin and professor Moshe Lander to hash out the stadium politics.

The NHL did not want to comment on this story and the Calgary Flames have not replied to our request.

Listen to the full segment above.

This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese, Mary-Catherine McIntosh and Calgary network producer Michael O'Halloran.