For the people of Calgary and their beloved Flames, no man made more of a difference to not only the hockey community but also to the city as a whole as Harley Hotchkiss. Surrounded by close friends and family whom he loved so much, Hotchkiss passed away Wednesday morning, ending his long battle with prostate cancer. The well-known Calgary philanthropist was one of the six businessmen that brought the Atlanta Flames over to Calgary in 1980, thus lifting the spirits and bringing the city of Calgary to life.
Old-school in every sense of the word, his values and beliefs and his undying love for hockey and family made him a quiet Canadian icon. His passion and love for his Flames always gave the team the amount of respect they received; winning the Stanley Cup only nine years after moving from Atlanta and reaching the Stanley Cup Finals three times under his watch; the thirst for excellence has always remained the same. Never one to boast or brag, Hotchkiss was a big part of the Flames sense of modesty and legitimacy and never seeked recognition or attention for his work in the community.
Appreciated as a community leader, Hotchkiss and his family generously donated millions of dollars to health care and research and in 2004, the Calgary Brain Institute was renamed the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in recognition of his family’s support and efforts in funding the facility. Harley also supported and donated millions to various University Of Calgary initiatives and research facilities, spawning new developments in Spinal Cord Research and injury prevention.
From 1995 to 2007, Hotchkiss served as a chairman on the NHL’s Board of Governors and played a key role when the 2004-05 NHL lockout took yet another turn for the worse and a second hockey-less season loomed in the dark. Contacted by the players, he was a crucial part in mending the riff between the Players Association and the NHL, furthering his status in the hockey world as a man of integrity and true love for the game and its fans. In 2006, Hotchkiss was honored by being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame under the builder’s category for his never ending work with the Flames and his undying efforts to keep small market Canadian teams in Canada during the down fall of the Canadian dollar. In 2009 he received the highest Canadian honor as he was promoted to the companion of the Order of Canada.
Harley Hotchkiss was passionate in every aspect of his life. His love for hockey, family and friends made him a complete gentleman and was looked at by so many as a great humanitarian. He is one of a kind and despite today’s thirst for publicity and recognition; his old-school humble approach to business and philanthropy, as well as his true sense of Canadian identity, has given him the respect he never failed to show others. The Tillsonburg, Ontario native will be dearly missed and forever remembered by the Calgary Flames, NHL and all those he has touched over the years.
To learn more about the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, visit http://www.hbi.ucalgary.ca/