CALGARY – Byron Seaman, a founding owner of the Calgary Flames, has died at the age of 97.
Byron James BJ Seaman and his late brother Daryl Doc Seaman were among six men from Calgary, along with Nelson Skalbania, who bought the Atlanta Flames and moved the NHL club to Alberta in 1980.
The Seaman brothers co-owned the NHL franchise for 30 years.
BJ Seaman, born in Rouleau, Sask., Died on Saturday in Calgary. This is evident from an obituary posted on the McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes website.
“We are forever grateful for the outstanding role BJ and his brother Doc played in bringing the NHL to Calgary,” said Murray Edwards, co-owner and chairman of Flames, in a statement released by the team on Thursday.
“ He was dedicated to his family and lived a dedicated life for our Calgary community. We will miss BJ’s friendship and support and extend our deep condolences to his loved ones and friends. ”
Byron, Daryl, and Brother Don arrived in Alberta to spark an oil and gas boom in the 1950s. The siblings founded Seaman Engineering and Drilling, which later became Bow Valley Industries.
Byron was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and received the Governor General’s Medal. In 1992 he received an honorary degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
He, Daryl, and another founding member of Flames, Harley Hotchkiss, founded the basic Project 75 program to fund hockey projects. It was eventually renamed the Seaman Hotchkiss Foundation.
The Seaman brothers helped fund the International Hockey Center for Excellence in Calgary. They also helped set up a magnetic resonance research center at the University of Calgary.
“From the pivotal role he played in 1980 in bringing NHL hockey to his beloved city, Byron indelibly shaped not just the Flames but the entire NHL for the next 30 years,” League Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
“ He has made a huge contribution to the city of Calgary through his dedication and passion for giving back to his community. The NHL has lost a dear friend. ”
BJ Seaman has served on the boards of the Salvation Army and Calgary Children’s Hospital, as well as on the committees of YMCA, UNICEF and the Canadian Foundation for Ileitis and Colitis.
He was active in the United Church, according to his obituary, enjoying the hunt, golf, gin rummy card game, reciting Robbie Burns poetry, and lunch at the Petroleum Club.
His wife Evelyn died of cancer and Parkinson’s in 2003. Daryl died in 2009 at the age of 86.
BJ Seaman survived from his brother Don, four children, eight grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.