Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman, co-owner of the Calgary Flames and part of the original group that brought the NHL team over from Atlanta, died Sunday at age 86.
The Flames confirmed Seaman's death in a release. No cause of death was given.
"I've lost a dear friend of 55 years and I have lost the best partner a man could have," Flames co-owner Harley Hotchkiss said in a statement. "People should know that the Flames were Doc's initiative and Doc's idea.
"There would have been no Flames in Calgary were it not for Doc. Those who care about our team and the game owe him a debt of gratitude."
"Doc Seaman lived a life of devotion to his family, to his community and to hockey — not only through the initiative that brought the Flames to Calgary but also through his commitment to youth hockey," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
"The National Hockey League will dearly miss his friendship, his wisdom and his support."
Seaman was one of six businessmen who helped bring the Flames to Calgary in 1980.
"Doc was a great visionary about the game and everything that applies to sport and life," Flames general manager Darryl Sutter said on the club's website.
"He knew and appreciated the Canadian value of hockey, the tradition of the game and what's important. He was always our rock."
Prominent figure in oil and gas industry
Born in Rouleau, Sask., but a resident of Calgary, Seaman was also a prominent figure in Canada's oil and gas industry.
Seaman was chairman and president of Dox Investments, a private holding company, and was also a director on the boards of several public companies. He was appointed by the governor general to the Royal Commission on Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada from 1982 to 1985.
He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.
He served five years as a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot during the Second World War and flew combat missions in Africa and Italy.
The Alberta Order of Excellence inducted Seaman last year. Its bio of Seaman states his plane was damaged and a crewman killed during a firefight in 1943, yet he managed to fly back to base with an injured leg.
He is said to have earned the nickname Doc playing baseball during the summer while studying engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. Seaman carried his gear to games in a black satchel that looked like a medical bag.
A survivor of prostate cancer, Seaman donated $5 million toward the building of a urology centre at a Calgary hospital in 2007 to help treat prostate, bladder and kidney cancer.
The Western Hockey League's Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy is presented annually to the top scholastic player in the league.