Professional sports franchises have a way of bringing a community together socially and economically. The benefits of having a new stadium and franchise within a city creates the opportunity to increase a city’s job rate and bring that city to a level of relevance it may not have had at one point or another. For the city of Calgary, Alberta, there isn’t much more that exceeds the importance of their beloved Stampeders and Flames.
Since moving to Calgary from Atlanta in 1980, the Flames have stressed the importance of creating a positive impact within the city of Calgary and all of Southern Alberta. Flames Foundation for Life is the charitable arm of the Calgary Flames and focuses on important topics that many southern Albertans may face. Through the organization’s efforts, they are able to tackle issues such a health care, education, hunger and athletics by making them all attainable for all community residents. The Flames Foundation for Life supports the Minor Hockey Association of Calgary and several other amateur organizations; including the city’s three post-secondary institutes; The University of Calgary; Mount Royal University; and SAIT Polytechnic. Their support includes team funding and donations each season over a set period of time.
The Foundation also hosts an annual hockey camp called Flames Even Strength Program which to this day has assisted 2,500 underprivileged children with the chance to play hockey. During the 2010-11 NHL season, the Calgary Flames; Flames Foundation for Life; Hockey Calgary; Hockey Alberta; and Tuxedo Sports, all came together to host Dreams Come True in conjunction with the Even Strength Program. A Hockey Canada initiative; Dreams Come True covers minor hockey fees for 50 youngsters and provides each player with a full set of equipment. The 50 players also got the chance to skate at the Saddledome with a couple of Flames players.
Recognizing the importance of success off the ice has always been important for the Flames Foundation for Life as they support and encourage the ever-growing minds of today’s youth. In honour of long time Calgary Flames owner Harley Hotchkiss, the Calgary Flames honour students who are members of men and women’s hockey with the chance to receive a $1,000 post-secondary scholarship. The Flames are also committed to the health and well-being of those in Southern Alberta and have various health initiatives and programs. Health issues targeted are that of the prevention of adolescent depression and substance abuse while assuring students of their importance and value within the classroom. Public health care and specialty institutes are also funded in part with the Calgary Flames such as brain, bone and joint institutions.
The Calgary Flames have always played a vital part in the life and security of those in Southern Alberta. The Flames have put the city of Calgary on the map and have helped make them a relevant topic of discussion in North American sports. It wasn’t hard for the Flames to build a solid fan base when they moved to a city that was hockey crazy and they have never let their progression on and off the ice slow down. Their commitment to fully supporting positive initiatives that bring positive changes to the people of Southern Alberta is admirable and appreciated by not only the Calgary fans, but by hockey fans across the country.
For more information on the Flames Foundation for Life, visit http://flames.nhl.com/club/microhome.htm?location=/flames_foundation