Perhaps the credit should go to the city of Calgary and mayor Naheed Nenshi for becoming one of the first cities to tell the owner of a sports team to go pound when they came and asked for a municipality to pay for a new arena. But then it’s hard to do that when Nenshi turned around and tried to sell Calgary on bringing the Olympics back to Calgary, when everyone knows that any host city turns into Dark City after the Olympics leave town. Still, let’s cherish a step forward for once.
That didn’t stop Flames owner Murray Edwards from trying to influence the mayoral election in Calgary to get Nenshi out of office, along with the help of one Gary Bettman. But there are no sports in politics, remember.
Edwards also couldn’t even figure out how to leverage Seattle into getting what he wanted, sitting idly by while the NHL handed that city an expansion franchise (or soon officially will). So for once, an owner is forced to sit and just rake in the cash that his team generates in an arena that is only a touch old.
There’s nowhere for Edwards to turn. The NHL likely isn’t going to let him move to Quebec City, not when it’s on the cusp of having its perfect alignment. Kansas City? Been muted for a long time. There just isn’t any option.
And Edwards can suck it. He’s currently worth $2.2 billion, and if he wanted a new arena he could probably find the change in his couch. The impasse for the arena wasn’t that Nenshi was unwilling to put any money into it, it’s that he wanted a return on that investment for the city. Edwards wanted Calgary’s money and then to keep the revenues all to himself. It’s the normal ploy from owners, but it’s one more and more cities are standing up to.
So you wonder what Edwards thinks when he meets with fellow owners who did get their arenas, but he was too crude or stupid to get his own. Or both. While Calgary will be better off, you can be sure he’s stewing that he can’t match his fellow greed-monsters in the board room of the NHL’s meetings.
There’s a lot wrong with sports, but the image of Edwards feeling inferior and aggrieved is one we can hold onto that things could get better one day.
Game #28 Preview Suite