CALGARY — Clay Riddell, billionaire businessman and co-owner of the Calgary Flames, has died. He was 81.
The Flames confirmed his death in a statement on Sunday.
“We mourn the passing of a great man of industry, sports, philanthropy and human decency along with our city, province and country. His legacies to all of us are immeasurable. To his family our gratitude, respect and deepest sympathy,” said Flames vice chairman and CEO Ken King.
Riddell joined Flames ownership in 2003 after spending much of his life building oil and gas companies, including Paramount Resources.
The oil tycoon relinquished his role as CEO of the natural gas and oil exploration company in 2015, when his son, James, took over the role. Riddell founded the company in 1976 and went public with it in 1978.
“On behalf of the National Hockey League and our board of governors we extend our deepest condolences to the family of Clay Riddell,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release. “Clay’s passion and commitment to his city and beloved Flames will be deeply missed.”
Forbes pegged his fortune at US$1.2 billion, according to its 2018 ranking of the world’s wealthiest people.
He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008 in part because of his creation of program that helped encourage students pursue studies in geology and his philanthropy, including a $10-million donation to his alma mater, the University of Manitoba, to create an endowment fund toward its faculty of environment, earth and resources in 2005.
Riddell died on Saturday after a short illness according to a release from Paramount Resources.
“He was an incredible man with so many accomplishments,” said James Riddell. “He will be dearly missed.”
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi tweeted his condolences.
“Incredibly sad. Clay was a titan of our community—in industry, philanthropy, sport, and education. Calgarians feel his legacy now, and we will feel it for many years to come. My heart goes out his family and friends in this difficult time. Know that we all mourn with you today,” said Nenshi.