SUN Hockey Pool

Flames loving Loonie

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

Ken King admits he's watching the rise of the Canadian dollar with keen interest.

"Every day," said the Calgary Flames president and CEO. "It's important, it affects a lot of people."

But despite the loonie cracking the U.S. 94-cent mark Friday, King isn't getting his hopes up too high at the moment. It is his off-season, after all. The real payoff would come during the regular season as the Flames are forced to shell out salaries in U.S. funds.

"My regular response is we're encouraged by it -- we're encouraged by it and we're happy about it but it really only affects us during our pay periods in the season," King said.

"When you're making payroll in U.S. dollars, the price of the U.S. dollar at that time would get your attention. It's been improving over the last few years. That's been a very positive thing."

Some have boldly predicted the Canadian buck to reach currency parity with the U.S., which would suit King just fine.

One area of business the hot dollar won't help the Flames is with a new arena.

The long-term goal is to move into a new facility rather than retrofit the Saddledome but King says the team is still in the very early stages of planning.

"It's important at some point that we have a more viable facility but there's lots of work to do on that yet," King said.

"Really, the big issue is can you depend on construction costs these days, in terms of the estimate for what it takes to be built. And then can you make it an economically responsible and viable project?

"That's a difficult question to answer right now.

"Ideally, it would be situated within the Stampede ground.

"We think it should be an urban facility, it should be downtown. We have some spots that we favour."


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