The heat in Houston is real, as predictions of an NHL coming to town persist

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A dispute between the mayor of Calgary and the owners of the city’s NHL team may open the door for the sport to return to Houston.

According to a recent editorial in the Calgary Sun newspaper, the owners and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi are at an impasse on an agreement to build a new arena for the Flames – a potentially costly dispute, which could, as the article predicts, lead the owners to sell the franchise for between $450 million and $650 million.

Good thing Houston Rockets new owner Tilman Fertitta is a billionaire and repeatedly expressed interested in bringing a professional hockey team back to the Bayou City.

“The bottom line is, who wants (the Flames) more?” writer Eric Francis asked in the piece. “The answer is Houston, which is where my money says the Flames will be within the next three years.”

RELATED: Seattle’s Bid for NHL Team Leaves Houston’s Hockey Hopes on Hold

Franchise ownership reportedly offered to put up $275 million toward the construction of a new $500 million hockey arena in Calgary back in September, with a municipal bond issue covering the remainder.

Shortly before city’s mayoral election in October, however, Flames president Ken King announced their departure from the negotiating table.

“We have decided not to pursue (further negotiations), and, really, that’s the message today,” King said in an interview with CBC, “We’re fulfilling our promise that we said we’d tell people how much we were prepared to contribute.”

While Forbes Magazine reportedly estimates the value of the franchise at $430 million, the recent announcement of an NHL expansion proposal by a group from Seattle placed the value of their bid at nearly $650 million.

RELATED: Report: Rockets’ Fertitta Met NHL’s Bettman To Talk Houston Hockey

And the price may be worth it, as the Flames are among the most successful franchises in NHL history – at least on the ice:

Since moving from Atlanta in 1980, the Flames won a Stanley Cup NHL championship in 1989 and appeared in the Finals in 1986 and 2004.

They also earned the President’s Trophy, a best record award, in 1988 and 1989.

Houston loves a winner. Stay tuned, y’all.

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