In the spring of 1980, a group of local businessmen introduced the National Hockey League to the City of Calgary. In the span of the last 40 years, the Calgary Flames have become one of the premier franchises in the NHL, both on and off the ice.
Of course, the pinnacle of their storied history in Calgary was their crowning as Stanley Cup champions in 1989.
Over the years the Flames have provided many historic moments and memories. From the initial years in the Stampede Corral when Calgarians first developed their love affair with their new team, to the opening of the Saddledome that put Calgary on the map with a world class facility there are many favourite moments, games and players. Opening night, New Year’s Eve against the Montreal Canadiens, Lanny McDonald’s goal in the 1989 Cup Finals, and every Battle of Alberta.
But the spring of 2004 just might go down in Flames history as the most memorable of all. When a team of hard-working committed young men restored our game and our city’s name among the best. As general manager and head coach Darryl Sutter and his team rolled to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, they did more than just place the Flames on the brink of winning a Stanley Cup; they rallied a city that was bursting to show their true Calgary spirit.
In fact Calgary’s team became Canada’s team — they electrified a nation.
Since their move to Calgary, the team has won the following awards; Stanley Cup (1988-89); two Presidents’ Trophies, first overall, (1987-88, 1988-89); three Clarence Campbell Conference titles (1985-86), (1988-89) and (2003-04); two Smythe Division playoff championships; two Pacific Division titles; several NHL individual and team honors; and numerous attendance records.
However, the Flames mean more to Calgary than just their on-ice success.
The original mandate of the Flames ownership group was to ensure that this franchise would make a positive impact on the quality of life for all Calgarians.
Through various initiatives the Flames have touched the lives of thousands of people through their commitment to education, medical research, health, amateur sports and recreation.
With the creation and execution of interactive community-minded initiatives, the Flames and the Flames Foundation have directed more than $24 million in funding to important causes in southern Alberta. Flames players, owners, alumni, wives, management and staff are committed to building better communities through teamwork.
The Flames have made Calgary not only their home but also their motivation since May 21, 1980, when the Atlanta Flames became the Calgary Flames. On that day they moved from The Omni (capacity 15,141) to the Stampede Corral (capacity 7,242) and the Flames exchanged their fiery “A” to an explosive-looking “C”.
Calgary’s and the Flames’ first ever NHL game, in the Corral, was against the Quebec Nordiques Oct. 9, 1980, a 5-5 tie. The last game was a 6-5 playoff win over Edmonton April 18, 1983 in the Corral after which the Flames moved to their new home in the then-named Olympic Saddledome. The facility opened Saturday, Oct. 15, 1983 when Edmonton edged the Flames 4-3. The Flames formally assumed management of the Saddledome on August 1, 1994.