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Gondek says Calgary Flames owners want to 'pull the plug' on arena deal – Calgary Herald

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CSEC has not confirmed the news and did not respond to Postmedia requests for comment Tuesday night

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Mayor Jyoti Gondek says the Calgary Flames ownership group wants to cancel the multimillion-dollar deal to build the city’s new arena.

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Gondek wrote on Twitter just before 6 p.m. Tuesday that she spoke with Calgary Flames majority owner Murray Edwards, who told her that the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (CSEC) intends to “pull the plug” on the agreement.

“I wanted Calgarians to be the first to know,” Gondek wrote. “I am as disappointed as all of you that this is the way things are ending.”

  1. The site of the future new arena at Stampede Park was photographed on Monday, July 26, 2021.

    City, Flames to each put extra $12.5M toward arena, but Flames take any more cost overruns

  2. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Ken King shake hands with L-R, councillors, Ward Sutherland, John Bean. President & CEO, Jeff Davison and Shane Keating as council voted for a new arena in Calgary on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

    ‘Public money is being used for public good’: Council votes to spend $275 million on new Flames arena

Plans for the new building have already been finalized, and a development permit — one of the final steps before starting construction — was approved last month.

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But there are a series of conditions that have to be met before the development permit can be released. Gondek said a little less than $10 million of additional costs related to road work, public realm improvements and climate change mitigation that are a necessary part of that process have become an insurmountable obstacle.

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“(Edwards) has tried his best to get his partners to keep moving forward with the event centre deal,” Gondek told reporters Tuesday evening.

“There was additional funding that had to be taken on by Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. It appears they’re unable to make that financial commitment, following the approval of their development permit. So it would appear that they are ending the deal.”

CSEC has not confirmed the news and did not respond to Postmedia requests for comment Tuesday night.

The city and CSEC initially signed an agreement in 2019 to split the $550-million cost of building the new event centre, as the city calls the facility, in East Victoria Park. Public money would also cover the costs of demolishing the Saddledome, while CSEC was additionally granted options to acquire two valuable parcels of nearby city-owned land.

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The agreement changed earlier this year after “budget issues” put progress toward construction on pause for several months. In the end, the cost-overruns provision of the deal was activated, which saw the city and CSEC both commit an additional $12.5 million.

The city-owned Calgary Municipal Land Corp. (CMLC) was removed as the project’s development manager so the Flames ownership group could hire someone of their own choosing, and they agreed to shoulder any further cost overruns for the new building.

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Council heard in the summer that the latest cost estimates for the event centre are around $608.5 million.

Gondek said it “appears” that CSEC would like the city to help cover the additional costs that have been identified.

“I do have to tell you that the deal that was struck in July of this year indicated that additional costs would be borne by Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. So, according to that contract, the city can’t come back with additional funding.”

She said the city has tried to ensure that it would pay for any roadwork that’s strictly its responsibility.

“I’m not exactly sure what is driving (CSEC’s) position but I can tell you that we have done our best to be accommodating and, unfortunately, they’re unable to proceed at this time.”

The mayor said she was “quite surprised” by the latest turn of events and she can’t say what might happen next. She added the city will have to “unpack” the legal implications of CSEC potentially walking away.

“I know our administration is incredibly dedicated to this project as well,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the brakes have been put on it.”

masmith@postmedia.com
Twitter: @meksmith

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Bombers extend Most Outstanding Defensive Player Bighill – TSN

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Adam Bighill is staying in Winnipeg.

The Blue Bombers announced Thursday the reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player has signed a one-year contract extension with the team. 

Bighill has spent the past three seasons with the Blue Bombers, helping the team back-to-back Grey Cups.

A veteran of nine CFL seasons, Bighill has played in 146 games in his CFL career and ranks eighth in league history all-time in total tackles.

The three-time CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player had 70 tackles and added two quarterback sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries last season. He was named a CFL All-Star for the sixth time in his career.

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Denis Shapovalov Australian Open third round Reilly Opelka – TSN

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Denis Shapovalov needed three hours and 23 minutes to take down Serbia’s Laslo Djere in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday, working through a handful of unforced errors and a fourth-set tiebreak.

It was a cakewalk compared to his second-round matchup.

The Richmond Hill, Ont., native went the distance with Kwon Soon-woo, needing five sets and nearly four and a half hours to dispatch of the 54th-ranked South Korean. Shapovalov lost back-to-back tiebreaks in the second and third sets but battled back to take the final two and avoid an early exit.

Watch his third-round matchup LIVE on TSN4, TSN.ca, the TSN App and TSN Direct at approximately 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT Thursday night.

“It was tough to bounce back every time. In the second set I had a set point on his serve and then the third set I had a couple of set points. I felt I was doing everything the right way, it just wasn’t going my way,” Shapovalov told TSN’s Mark Roe after the win.

“It’s definitely not easy but it’s the case sometimes. I’m just happy to be alive and have an opportunity to play in the third round. I’m pretty young so I’m sure I’ll be alright; I’ve had this before.”

Now it’s on to the third round for Shapovalov where he gets his toughest test of the tournament yet in No. 23 seed American Reilly Opelka.

Opelka has had a much easier road to Round 3, scoring straight-sets victories over Kevin Anderson in the first round and Dominik Koepfer in the second. Standing at 6-foot-11, the big-serving American isn’t much for rallies, combining for 41 aces in his first two matches in Melbourne.

“I think it’s more about recovery to be honest. I mean, Reilly’s game is pretty straightforward. He goes for his serves, he’s going for his ground strokes off the back as well so it’s going to be kind of like a guessing game a little bit on the returns and hopefully, I can take care of business on my serve and hopefully I’m getting good looks, but I’ve just got to stay patient against him,” Shapovalov said.

The 22-year-old comes into the year’s first Grand Slam with some momentum having won the men’s ATP Cup earlier this month in Sydney alongside Canadian teammates Felix Auger-Aliassime, Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez.

Fatigue from a recent bout of COVID-19 forced Shapovalov to sit out the start of the tournament but he said earlier this week he was back to feeling 100 per cent.

“Towards the end of the [ATP Cup] I got really comfortable, and the body felt good again, so that was a good sign. And, of course, leading up to this tournament I had little aches and pains, so I wasn’t practising too much but I’m really happy after the two matches that the body is feeling good and it’s definitely a good sign.”

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Sheldon Keefe calls Leafs 'soft and purposeless' after Rangers collapse – Yahoo Canada Sports

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Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe finally blew a gasket after his team squandered a 3-1 lead for the fourth time in its last five games. (Getty)

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: The Toronto Maple Leafs have a multi-goal lead but their opponents come back to win the game.

Wednesday’s tilt against the New York Rangers played out exactly like that, with the Leafs having a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, and the hometown Rags storming back to earn a 6-3 victory with five consecutive goals.

Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe called out his team’s effort during his post-game availability, specifically citing the defensive side of their performance.

“Today, I just thought we played soft, and we made poor decisions defensively,” Keefe said

“We couldn’t sort anything out. It was just far different. Each game has been different, so it’s hard to talk about patterns other than the obvious that we’ve been giving up leads. I just thought we got exposed today for being a team that was just soft, soft and purposeless, and just kind of playing the game and hoping it was going to work out.

“I didn’t think we had anybody that played well tonight. Coaches didn’t coach well tonight. So, today is a much different game than we’ve played in the others where we’ve given up leads and such. I just didn’t think we had nearly enough urgency or purpose.”

The Leafs were without two of their top four defenseman in Jake Muzzin (concussion) and Justin Holl (COVID protocol) in New York, but missing personnel is something that can be overcome. Keefe pondered if it was a larger-scale issue that keeps putting the Leafs in this position.

“We’ve had a lot of really good starts,” Keefe said. “Obviously it’s been the finish or the second half of games that haven’t gone well. …Maybe a fast start was working against us. We thought it would be easy the rest of the way. We paid for it.”

Toronto let three third-period leads get washed away by their opponents in the previous four games before Wednesday, making it more of a concerning trend than coincidental bad luck.

The Leafs will take another stab at trying to hold a multi-goal lead when they visit Islanders on Saturday.

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