Since their arrival in 1980, the team has captivated hockey fans with their on-ice success, including a Stanley Cup victory in 1989, while establishing a solid off-ice reputation for community involvement through millions of dollars in contributions to charitable organizations throughout southern Alberta.
On May 21, 1980, Nelson Skalbania and a group of Calgary entrepreneurs consisting of Doc and B.J. Seaman, Harley Hotchkiss, Norm Green, Ralph Scurfield and Norman Kwong announced the acquisition of the Atlanta Flames franchise and eclared their intention to relocate the team to Alberta.
In August 1981, Skalbania sold his interest to the Calgary contingent, and the remaining six local businessmen continued to hold exclusive ownership until June 15, 1990, when Norm Green left to become owner of the Minnesota North Stars (now Dallas Stars). On August 8, 1994, further revisions to the ownership structure saw the addition of six new investors and the departure of two of the team’s original owners (Norman Kwong and Sonia Scurfield).
Subsequent changes have resulted in the current group of owners: Chairman N. Murray Edwards, owner and president of Edco Financial Holdings Ltd.; Alvin G. Libin, president and CEO of Balmon Investments Ltd.; Allan P. Markin, founder of the Pure North S’Energy Foundation; Jeffrey J. McCaig, chairman and CEO of Trimac Transportation and chairman and director of Bantrel Company; and Clayton H. Riddell, CEO of MGM Energy Corp. and chairman of the board of Perpetual Energy Inc. and Trilogy Energy Corp.; as well as Byron J. Seaman, one of the ownership group’s original members.
On October 9, 1980, in their inaugural game at the Stampede Corral, the Calgary Flames battled the Quebec Nordiques to a 5–5 tie. The team played a total of 146 league, playoff and exhibition games at the Corral, losing only 28 regular season and four playoff games in three seasons, before moving across the street to the Saddledome in October 1983. The Flames formally assumed management of the Saddledome on August 1, 1994, and after extensive renovations, the venue was reopened on October 25, 1995.
During the past 32 years, the Calgary Flames have become a premier NHL franchise. The team’s first appearance in the Cup finals was in 1986 and their most recent in 2004, when they electrified the city with their inspirational playoff run. The pinnacle of the Flames’ success was being crowned Stanley Cup champions for the 1988-89 season. In addition, they have captured two Presidents’ Trophies (1987-88, 1988-89), three Clarence Campbell Conference titles (1985-86, 1988-89, 2003-04), two Smythe Division championships (1985-86, 1988-89), two Pacific Division titles (1993-94, 1994-95) and a Northwest Division title (2005-06), in addition to numerous NHL individual and team honours.
In 2003-04, the Flames launched an exciting new red jersey as their home sweater, and it would become the top-selling jersey launch in NHL history. At the start of the 2007-08 season, the Flames jersey was modified to include minor striping changes and shoulder patches featuring the Canada and Alberta flags. For 2010-11, a vintage jersey based on sweater worn by the 1989 Stanley Cup winning team was officially adopted as the team’s third jersey.
A highlight of the 2010-11 season was the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium on February 20, 2011. For their outdoor matchup against the Montreal Canadiens, the Flames wore uniforms inspired by the Calgary Tigers, the city’s first major rofessional hockey team. A crowd of 41,022 spectators watched the Flames shut out the Habs 4–0.
On November 8, 2010, the Flames family celebrated the posthumous induction of Doc Seaman to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder Category. Doc became the second member of the Flames ownership group to be elected to the Hall, joining the late Harley Hotchkiss, who received the same honour in 2006.
The Calgary Flames Limited Partnership became the majority ownership group and operating partner of the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League on March 29, 2012. This move augments the partnership’s already substantial commitment to successful community sports assets, which include the Calgary Flames, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, and the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League.
When they brought the Flames to Calgary in 1980, the ownership group’s mandate was to ensure that the team would have a positive impact on the quality of life in Southern Alberta. A natural outcome of this mission was the creation of the charitable arm of the hockey club, the Flames Foundation for Life. Since its inception, the Foundation, along with its partners and donors, has raised millions of dollars for education, health and medical research, and amateur and grassroots sports.