Sea of Red given maroon touch

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

The Saddledome has a new look to go with a new season.

Some changes are relatively minor, but after 24 years of National Hockey League hockey, even little touches go a long way.

Fans seated in the lower bowl sections 101-114 will notice the maroon tint to the Sea of Red. Under their bottoms are new cushions, replacing the old greenish-blue ones.

"We did all of the lower bowl with the exception of the club seats," said Calgary Flames president Ken King yesterday. "We need to keep a standard up for our patrons. It's a contest to keep it functional, but appreciate the fact we'd like to move out at some point."

A new arena will likely host the Flames in the not-too-distant future. Meanwhile, the players are being treated to an upgrade in their event-level facilities, which King said were a little lacking.

"It's hardly country club now," he added.

The hallway to the dressing room was also widened, and the media area outside the doors has a more modern look. New rubber composite flooring -- red, with black and yellow trim -- and a pair of soon-to-be doored entry ways are framed in black partitions that keep the home team's nook secluded from the aged event level. It's cleaner and brighter looking, which King said better reflects team standards.

"We didn't think it characterized our organization or the NHL in a way that was appropriate," he said. "We're still missing a ceiling, but we're happy with it, and the comments have been positive."

The work is still in progress, and there are plans to replace the seating in the first few rows of the upper level.

"Because of the nature of the business we're in," said King. "You're rarely accounted an opportunity to work uninterrupted."

A couple more super suites were also added.


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