Player agent says age of the Saddledone is low on the list factors free agents weigh in deciding where to play

With the Joe Louis in Detroit and Rexall Place in Edmonton, replacement arenas are already breaking ground, and with the Islanders moving from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to the Barclay’s Centre in Brooklyn, the Calgary Flames home, the Scotiabank Saddledome is set to become the oldest building in the NHL.

The Flames are at the beginning of their efforts to have a new arena built. With such an old building to call home for the foreseeable future, will the Flames suffer in recruiting free agent players to sign with their club?

NHL Player Agent Don Meehan doesn’t think so.

“I think it would be unfair to say that a player would look to the building itself as a priority in his determination. I think it’s a consideration, but certainly not a primary consideration,” said Meehan.

“Now the building itself, the building in Calgary, I mean we all know that they need a new building, but it isn’t a building that is in disrepair.”

Meehan suggests a lot of a free agent player’s thought goes into how that particular player can help the team, and where in the lineup they slot into.Sean Monahan, young Calgary Flames superstar and client of Don Meehan’s sports agency, Newport Sports Management.

Photo courtsey of The Calgary Flames/Getty Images

“What I see as common priorities for players that approach unrestricted free agency would be to see if that club offers a particular fit for that player, does he have an opportunity to excel based on his skill level, is he a proper fit with the organization, are they committing to him to the extent that he can play a solid role within that organization […] is the organization a competitive one, are they at a stage in their development where by the player feels that they have a chance to win that he can contribute to that success,” Meehan said.

After the player feels he will be used properly with the organization, and that that organization can compete in with the best in the league, Meehan suggests they will look at the people behind the logo, the people who captain the ship.

“Is it good ownership, are they committed to the community, do they have a solid reputation, is the management progressive, are they good, are they hard working, are they successful? Those are some of the considerations that I see far more prevalent than, for example the whole aspect of the building itself.”

So, for those keeping score at home, priority one is the player’s personal fit into the organization, and priority two is the people within the organization, right from the ownership to the players within the organization.

So, with the Flames still residing in the aging ‘Dome, do they lie at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting free agents?

“No. No, it’s not a restrictive element to the extent that it would mitigate against players coming to Calgary,” Meehan said.

“What Calgary has going for them is that number one it’s very solid ownership, the ownership is committed to the city, they deem that as civic responsibility, which is pretty genuine and pretty rare in our business. Secondly, they have excellent management now in Brad Treliving. He’s very progressive. Third, they have a good core of young players that are coming and playing with the team, which is attractive to anybody,” Meehan said.

So, it would seem that there’s no need to worry about losing out on talent when it comes to the Saddledome’s age.

ajsmith@cjournal.ca


Thumbnail photo courtsey of Sergei Scurfield/Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

To contact the editors responsible for this story; Bre Brezinski at bbrezinski@cjournal.ca; Evan Manconi at emanconi@cjournal.ca