NHL president Gary Bettman lobbies for new Calgary arena during interview

NHL President Gary Bettman weighed in on Calgary’s arena debate Tuesday during a first period intermission interview of the Flames-Stars playoff game.

Bettman was asked by Ryan Leslie about the emotional impact of having full houses back in Canadian arenas for the first playoff games since the 2019 post-season, and Bettman admitted it was emotional.

“It’s just great for the game, it’s great for the players,” he said. “Our game and our players get enormous energy from our fans. To see the C of Red tonight – it’s fantastic.

“And what this represents – not just for our games but for where we play our games – we’re getting back to normal,” he said. “And I think everybody’s craving normal.”

When asked about the state of the arena debate currently taking place in Calgary, Bettman didn’t mince words.

“Obviously this building is a little past its prime, to say the least,” he said. “The Flames, the City of Calgary the people who live here – whether it’s concerts or shows or for hockey games – there needs to be a new arena, and I remain hopeful that will become a reality.”

As far as the status of negotiations, Bettman said there remained work to be done.

“I think now things have to be rebooted up if there’s going to be any progress made,” he said, “because things sort of came off at the rails at one point.”

In addition to Bettman, other celebrity sightings at Tuesday night’s game included Terry Cahill, who starred in the made-in-Calgary cult classic FUBAR.

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