The hockey world is in mourning after news broke early Wednesday that long-time Calgary Flames co-owner Harley Hotchkiss had passed away after a battle with prostate cancer. Hotchkiss was 83.
Originally from southwestern Ontario, near London, Hotchkiss served in the Canadian Merchant Marines during the Second World War before embarking on a successful business career. Settling in Calgary, Hotchkiss made a name for himself in the petroleum industry.
In 1980, Hotchkiss was part of the original group of investors that purchased the Atlanta Flames from Rob Cousins and relocated the team to Calgary. In 1989, Hotchkiss recieved a Stanley Cup ring when the Flames won the NHL’s championship.
The long-time head of the Flames ownership group, Hotchkiss assumed a leadership position among the NHL’s owners – elected to the position of chairman of the Board of Governors in 1995, a position he held for the next 12 years. For his prowess in business, his humanitarian work and his work as a Flames owner and steward of the game of hockey, Hotchkiss was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1997 (he was promoted to Companion in 2009) and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2006.
Hotchkiss’ passing was felt by both those within and outside of the hockey world.
“Harley’s vision, his leadership, his integrity and his commitment to our game — particularly in Canada — were key components in making hockey, and the National Hockey League, as strong as they are today. He was passionately devoted to his family, his Flames, his community and his country.” -National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman
“A member of the Alberta Order of Excellence and a Companion of the Order of Canada, Harley, through his many charitable and business initiatives, helped transform Calgary into the thriving heart of the New West. As a hockey fan, I will forever be grateful for his role in bringing the Flames to Calgary.” -Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Harley Hotchkiss. He was a great mentor and counsel to me for many years, a man who consistently displayed qualities of integrity, grace and compassion. Harley’s handshake was a declaration of trust; he was an honourable man, both wise and true.” -Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.