Markham NHL arena likely to be voted down by city council

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

The Markham, Ontario, city council appears likely to shoot down building a new arena. The city, located outside of Toronto, has been rumored to be in line for a franchise, but the council wants something a little more concrete in hand before moving forward with plans.

Markham, Ontario's plans to build an NHL arena appear to have hit a roadblock, as deputy mayor Jack Heath has pulled his support for the project. The city council now appears ready to vote down the initiative, according to a report by Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post.

Despite initial claims that the project wasn't contingent on an NHL franchise, Heath said the lack of an NHL franchise to anchor the project would be the project's likely downfall, telling Fitz-Gerald, "They were not able to get an NHL team — and this really was about the NHL."

It had been reported that the NHL was prepared to award Markham an expansion franchise once a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. However, city councilman Don Hamilton told Fitz-Gerald that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would not commit to awarding a franchise until an arena plan had been approved. All indications are that the city council will not risk publicly funding the arena without a confirmed anchor tenant.

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