The president and general manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs is confident a new arena deal with the city will get done.
Steve Staios says that while there are some days he’s concerned about the process, he remains positive as city council prepares to debate the location of a new arena in Hamilton at Wednesday’s meeting.
“I’m trying not to get frustrated by this all,” Staios told Global News Radio’s Bill Kelly.
“I know the leadership of (Bulldogs owner) Michael Andlauer and where his heart is and what his intentions are. I mean, it’s a pretty incredible individual and a leader in our community.
“So I’m trying to look at the positives and in what could become with them with a new arena.”
Staios told CHML’s Bill Kelly Show that FirstOntario Centre is “not viable moving forward,” adding there is a lot of work being done at the downtown arena to keep it functioning.
“There’s certainly a lot of work being done just to keep this keep it functioning,” Staios said. “We make sure that the ice and the facilities are up to par, but certainly long-term viability and sustainability for the Hamilton Bulldogs — or anybody, really, when you look at it — is probably not viable moving forward.”
An independent report commissioned by the city earlier this year has recommended the city seek private partners to help build a new $130-million, 10,000-seat sports complex in downtown Hamilton.
LISTEN: President and general manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs Steve Staios talks new arena with Global News Radio’s Bill Kelly
The Ernst and Young report says the alternative is spending tens of millions of dollars on outdated facilities.
The report also says a new arena could bump up Bulldogs attendance by 20 to 50 per cent, adding that the current facility is too large for the market.
Andlauer, in partnership with Cadillac Fairview, has committed to putting money towards a new arena if it is built at Limeridge Mall.
A new arena has been a vision for Andlauer for over four years, since he purchased the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls in 2015 and moved them to Hamilton.
Andlauer recently told Global News that the new arena would not only accommodate the Bulldogs’ needs, but also serve as a solution for the oversized, cash-guzzling FirstOntario Centre at York and Bay streets.
“I never wanted to wait four years, but there were circumstances that dictated it would take longer,” Andlauer told 900 CHML. “Now that we’re here, Hamiltonians can be given an option.”
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