ALBERTA

New Calgary Arena Animation Sparks Excitement

01/30/2014 04:58 EST | Updated 01/30/2014 05:59 EST
Discover Channel

Calgarians have been watching, rather smugly, the circus in Edmonton surrounding the Oilers' new arena.

But a short animation of what a new Calgary Flames arena may look like is enough to get Calgarians to ponder arena dreams of their own.

A 15-second computer generated video of a modern arena, with its ceiling rising and lowering and morphing to change the building between a hockey arena and a concert venue, has Calgary fans daring to ponder that, maybe, a new arena for the city is more than an idea, and that it may be further along in development than anyone imagined.

The video, complete with flaming 'C' under centre ice and photos of Flames players flashing in the jumbotron, was shown as just one of the segments in a report by the Discovery Channel's Daily Planet, focusing on modern architecture.

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Calgary Flames President Ken King told the Calgary Herald the animation of the arena was more of a slip on the part of the architecture firm rather than an official announcement of development.

“We have presentations from, oh, six or eight architects, etc.,’’ King told the Herald.

“We’ve had several different designs (submitted). This is more an accident than anything.

“It’s no secret that we’re involved in a new arena concept. We need one and are working towards that.

But Flames fans believe the video is not just a tease, Metro Calgary reported.

“I work in marketing and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that was a presentation they were working on with the Flames,” said Kent Wilson of Flamesnation.ca.

“Usually you brand things like that with the brand you’re working with.”

Brian Mirakian of architecture firm Populous explains the idea behind the animation is a dynamic building that can change and morph into different kinds of spaces, such as a sports complex or a concert arena.

Music acts often skip Calgary in favour of playing in Edmonton, due to the Saddledome's reputation - as iconic as the building itself - for being atrocious for live music events.

Populous, notes matchsticksandgasoline.com, is also the group behind a number of other modern arenas and stadiums, such as XCel Energy Center in Minnesota, the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, and the Prudential Center in New Jersey.

They are gorgeous. They're very roomy (imagine a world where you can walk freely on the concourse!), they allow for a lot of natural light, they have escalators! Escalators are fun! If Populous ends up working on Calgary's new arena, we'll probably be getting something really, really good.

matchsticksandgasoline.com

The idea of a possible new arena prompted dozens of Flames fans to weigh in at Flamesnation.ca. Many were excited about the concept, while others were wary of the cost that would likely be attached to an arena such as the one depicted on the video.

Meanwhile, funding concerns continue to dominate the conversation around the new arena in Edmonton.

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New Edmonton Arena Proposal

Talks this week have revolved around the question of who will pay for the community rink that's part of the arena complex.

The Oilers will likely have access to it and MPs don't want federal cash going to the project if that is the case, the Edmonton Journal reported.

But mayor Don Iveson said if the Oilers do end up using the rink, they will have to pay market price to use it, according to The Edmonton Sun.

The cost for the entire project is pegged at nearly half-a-billion dollars, with construction starting in March and and completing in September 2016.