By Taylor McKee, November 27 2014 —
It’s difficult to imagine what hockey in Calgary would look like if it weren’t for Daryl “Doc” Seaman. And hockey is only a small part of the legacy he has in southern Alberta.
Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Seaman was a gifted athlete in both baseball and hockey. During his time playing junior baseball, Seaman would put his equipment in a handbag which resembled a doctor’s bag, earning him the nickname “Doc.” It stuck with him for the rest of his life.
After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War, Seaman became a successful businessman in Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
Seaman entered the hockey world as one of the six owners who brought the Atlanta Flames to Calgary. He was instrumental in building the Olympic Saddledome for the 1988 Olympics and the Calgary Flames.
However, Seaman’s interest in hockey wasn’t limited to the acquisition of the Flames and a new stadium — he believed that hockey could be used to improve the lives of youth all over Canada.
Seaman was the founding governor of the Hockey Canada Foundation, an organization dedicated to making hockey accessible for all Canadians. Along with fellow Flames owner Harley Hotchkiss, Seaman created Project 75 — later named the Seaman Hotchkiss Hockey Foundation — an ambitious charity that tries to develop Canadian hockey at a grassroots level by offering scholarships and building community arenas.
Seaman’s generosity extends beyond the hockey arena. The University of Calgary has received numerous donations from Seaman, including the creation of the Seaman Family Centre in 1999, which is located between the U of C Faculty of Medicine and the Foothills Medical Centre.
In 2009 Seaman died after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer. His estate continues to fund medical research and hockey initiatives all over southern Alberta. The Seaman estate was responsible for the largest cash donation to a community fund in Canadian history — $117 million — to the Calgary foundation in 2013.
Seaman was an officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. Seaman was, and continues to be, one of the most influential builders of sport and community in Canadian history.