Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saddledome's Nerve Centre 'A Total Loss' to Floods, Says Flames President

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saddledome's Nerve Centre 'A Total Loss' to Floods, Says Flames President

Article excerpt

Floods drown dressing rooms at Saddledome


CALGARY - A Calgary Flame stepping from the tunnel onto the Saddledome ice Saturday would have required scuba gear.

The Scotiabank Saddledome has been hit hard by the floods that ravaged parts of Southern Alberta.

The floodwaters reached the eighth row of seats in the lower bowl and submerged the Flames dressing room, team president Ken King said Saturday.

"That means if you were a hockey player walking from the tunnel onto the ice, you would be underwater yourself," he said. "It's very difficult to describe millions of gallons of water, sitting in that building."

A contract signed by former Flames captain Jim Peplinski was among some portable memorabilia saved.

But everything else on the Saddledome event level -- the nerve centre for games and concerts -- was "a total loss," King told reporters at a McMahon Stadium news conference.

The event level is the lowest floor in the building. The ice plant, ice resurfacing machines, kitchens and Saddledome staff uniforms are examples of what was under water Saturday.

"Everything that happens on the event level is drowned. Everything," King stated.

He stressed that the Saddledome was "real estate, a building" and the loss of life and homes Southern Albertans have suffered is more important.

But the Saddledome has been a part of the lifeblood of the city since it was built in 1983 for the arrival of the NHL's Flames and the 1988 Winter Olympics.

In addition to serving as the home arena of the Flames, Western Hockey Leagues' Hitmen, and National Lacrosse League's Roughnecks, it is a concert venue as well as exhibition space for the Calgary Stampede, which opens July 5.

City officials have not cancelled this year's Stampede.

"That's a move-in that's nine days from now," King said. "That may seem ludicrously ambitious, but this is Calgary."

King dispelled the rumour that the Jumbotron was on the arena floor when the Elbow River gushed into the building early Friday morning.

He confirmed, however, the electronics that operate the massive scoreboard were under about four metres of water "and not salvageable. …

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