Ken King, longtime Calgary Flames executive, dies at 68

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Longtime Calgary Flames president Ken King dies at 68
The man who led the Calgary Flames organization for more than a decade has passed away. Cami Kepke has more on Ken King’s impact on Calgary sports and city-wide legacy – Mar 12, 2020

Ken King, the former president and CEO and current vice-chair of the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) — which owns the Calgary Flames — has died.

The CSEC has made announced the passing of their “leader and friend” on Thursday afternoon, saying King “will be sadly missed.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ken’s wife Marilyn, his daughters Amanda and Jocelin and his grandchildren whom we know he loved dearly,” the CSEC said.

“Ken was the right leader at the right time for CSEC,” said the company’s chairman and co-owner Murray Edwards.

“His leadership and passion was exhibited every day in his successful delivery of the new Calgary event centre. He was a trusted confidant to all of the Flames owners, both past and present, and we all learned so much from him.”

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King took his post as president and CEO of the Calgary Flames in 2001 and in the years since, built an organization that now manages the Calgary Hitmen, the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Roughnecks and the Calgary Stampeders.

READ MORE: Flames no longer looking for new arena in Calgary: Ken King

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“Ken was an amazing friend and mentor,” CSEC president and CEO John Bean said. “He taught all of us so much through his words and actions. An organization never replaces a person like Ken; you simply honour him by going forward with the same passion and energy that he brought to work each and every day.”

Speaking to media on Thursday afternoon, Bean said he “learned a ton” from King, calling him “a very unique individual with an incredible sense of what was right and what was wrong.”

“He had an incredible ability to tackle many large issues, whether it was the ‘Save the Flames’ campaign back when he first started with our organization or the pursuit of a new events centre for the great city of Calgary that he loved so much,” Bean said.

“We will all miss him very much and there will be a more appropriate time and place to celebrate him.”

Click to play video: 'CSEC president and CEO John Bean reacts to Ken King’s death'
CSEC president and CEO John Bean reacts to Ken King’s death

Mayor Naheed Nenshi also paid his respects to King on Thursday afternoon before addressing the media on the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Nenshi commended King for his professional career in Calgary as well as his dedicated volunteer work.

“That was someone who just loved his city and loved this place and wanted to make this place better, so, certainly I’m very sad today to lose a friend, and I know that all Calgarians are deeply thankful for the legacy that he’s left,” he said.

King, who was originally from Saskatchewan, was a loud voice in advocating for a new arena for Calgary, which will eventually be the new home of the city’s NHL team.

In addition to his involvement in the city’s sports world, King was also very involved in other aspects of the community, including the TELUS Community Board, the Calgary Sport Tourism Authority, The Calgary Airport Authority, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Calgary Flames Foundation.

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