The Calgary Flames are mourning the loss of Byron James (B.J.) Seaman, part of the original group of six that brought the team to Calgary from Atlanta in 1980, who died on Saturday at the age of 97.
Seaman and his brother Daryl (Doc) served as members of the Flames’ ownership group from 1980 to 2010. Doc passed away in 2009 at the age of 86.
Born and raised in Rouleau, Sask., B.J., Doc and their brother Donald (Don) moved to Calgary where they formed Seaman Engineering and Drilling in 1949, later changing the name to Bow Valley Industries.
“B.J. was an extremely successful businessman with over 50 years of experience in various positions in the oil, gas and resource industries on a worldwide basis,” the Flames said in a news release.
“The Seaman brothers were dedicated to the Calgary community through their philanthropic initiatives and the Calgary Flames.”
Flames chairman Murray Edwards said the club will remain “forever grateful” for the role B.J. and Doc played in bringing the NHL to Calgary.
“He was devoted to his family and lived a life of dedication to our Calgary community,” Edwards said. “We will miss B.J.’s friendship and support and send our heartfelt condolences to his loved ones and friends.”
An obituary describes B.J. as a “devoted fan” who followed the Flames “passionately” during his 30 years of ownership.
“His enthusiasm for athletics carried into his personal pursuits,” his obituary said. “Along with his brother Doc and good friend Harley Hotchkiss, they created grassroots programs such as Project 75, now called the Seaman-Hotchkiss Hockey Foundation.”
B.J., Doc and Hotchkiss were inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. B.J. was also a recipient of the Governor General’s Medal.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Byron left an “indelible mark” on not only the Flames but the entire NHL.
“Through his commitment and passion for giving back to his community, he contributed greatly to the city of Calgary.
“The NHL has lost a dear friend.”
A private funeral service will be held on Friday, May, 14.