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King, former Flames president, dies at 68

Joined Calgary in 2001, helped develop approval for new arena deal

by Aaron Vickers / Independent Correspondent

CALGARY -- Former Calgary Flames president and CEO Ken King died Thursday following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 68.

King joined the Flames in the spring of 2001 and most recently worked as the vice-chair for Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation.

"He was a very unique individual with an incredible sense of what was right and what was wrong," CSEC president and CEO John Bean said. "He taught many of us so many lessons in all aspects of business and life. His passion for the city was demonstrated in the many community boards he volunteered his time to and the many causes he put his time and energy behind.

"He had an unbelievable drive on every aspect he undertook. I think that's what you leave with is that he was a large man of stature, almost larger than life, and commanded the room whenever he walked in. With that energy he tackled so many things. I think that's what we're left with is that large energy and a commitment to the city, for sure."

During his tenure, King helped build the foundation for CSEC, which also currently manages the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League, the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League, and the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

King also worked to get the Flames a new arena deal, which the Calgary City Council cast an affirmative vote for last July. The proposed arena, with a capacity for 19,000, will cost an estimated $550 million Canadian ($419 million U.S.) that will be split evenly between the city and Flames.

"A proud son of Saskatchewan, Ken King has been a pillar of the Calgary community for five decades," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Following a 30-year career in the newspaper business as president of both the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun, he has been a champion of Calgary's sports teams.

"His vision and steady hand have been instrumental in the success of both the Flames and the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, and his staunch advocacy for the arena project that will guarantee the Flames' long-term viability in Calgary will serve as a legacy of his devotion to the city. Ken was a friend and I will miss him greatly. My sincere condolences go out to his family."

King is survived by his wife, Marilyn, and two daughters, Amanda and Jocelin.

Photo courtesy: Calgary Flames

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