2014. It will be critical year for the flames franchise, Iginla's contract will be expired at the end of 2013, same for Regehr, following the 2014 season Dion and Kipper will be UFA as well. One other major piece will be the home they all live in, the Saddledome, will also be expired.
The "'dome", as it is more commonly known, has been a fixture of Calgary landscapes since 1983 and will perhaps meet it's fate in 2014. I know you think, "2014?? Why bother thinking about this now??". Well on average a construction project like a new stadium can take 1.5- 2 years in total to complete, especially when 8 months of the year is winter. That brings you back to 2012, now factor in the bidding time on tenders for construction and you can add another year, 2011. SO...if the Flames START looking at this next year or shortly after would it really be that big of a surprise? It's not that far away!
Personally I would hate to see the iconic building totally destroyed but realize everything must change eventually, but I would really prefer the Calgary Tower be torn down first! I love the dome and the memories I have in that building.
I remember my mom taking me to a WWF event when I was a little kid and seeing Andre the giant, for a kid in grade three that was a pretty big thrill. I gave her a horrified look as the crown started chanting "F*&K YOU...ROUGEAU!!!" for the fabulous regeau brothers. It seemed so huge in there and I wondered what it would be like to see the crown from floor level. As a grade three kid I mainly enjoyed all of the treats I was able to scarf down when I was there.
I have fond memories of the dark days, I refer to them as the "Shantz Days", due to Jeff Shants being our number one center back then...I know Jeff who? We used to buy nose bleed tickets and sneak down to better seats once we cased the place! One time we were busted three times by ushers and ended up behind Martin Brodeur during a devils game and who should show up beside us but Strak! He put us on that game where you answer questions with and buzz in with light up helmets on. I won and received a flaming donkey jersey and an autographed hat by...Ronald Petrovivky!! Just what every guy wants for an autograph.
I also remember the '04 run where we got playoff tickets for buying a 7 game pack mid season, the funny thing is ONE playoff ticket is all you got for a season ticket purchase later that year, how things changed that year! I remember Gelinas scoring against Detroit and people who didn't know each other hugging each other while screaming for joy.
I'm sure there will be many more moments before 2014 but have to admit as much as I would enjoy a new building I'd sure miss the old one. If you have as many memories as I do in the place, next season would be a good season to start appreciating the memories you have in there, it's time is coming. There has been talk of renovating the current building but the way I see it is that they already took out 1000 or so seats to make room for luxury boxes, they can't take out more and they have a very high demand.
The lease runs out in 2014 and given the proximity to downtown it stands to reason the Flames will simply not renew the lease and look towards owning the building.
My hope is that the current Dome will be remembered for all of it's moments, it's engineering and of course the memories it has created and will continue to for a few years.