Harley Hotchkiss, businessman, community leader, philanthropist (born at Tillsonburg, Ont 12 Jul 1927; died at Calgary, Alta 22 Jun 2011). Harley Hotchkiss was known as a "builder." In Calgary, where he made his home from the 1950s until his death, he is remembered for being a sincere, honourable, friendly, and family-oriented man.
Hotchkiss grew up on a dairy and tobacco farm in southwestern Ontario. He served in the SECOND WORLD WAR in the Canadian Merchant Marine (1944-45) and then went on to Michigan State University, where he played for the school's hockey team and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in geology in 1951. He immediately got a job with Canadian Superior Energy and moved to Calgary, where he began his long and distinguished career as a businessman and citizen.
In 1953, Hotchkiss joined the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in the petroleum division. In 1959, he formed his own company, Alcon Petroleum, and served as its president until 1967. From 1976 until his death, he was self-employed and very successful in the oil and gas industry in Alberta. In 2004, he was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame, which said at the time of his induction that Hotchkiss had an "unwavering and unselfish commitment to the oil industry, and to the community in general."
While Hotchkiss was an extremely successful investor in the oil and gas business, he was best known for his role as a part owner of the CALGARY FLAMES of the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE. In 1980, he led a group of investors who purchased the Atlanta Flames and moved the club to Calgary, where they flourished, winning the STANLEY CUP in 1989. He later sold his share of the club in 2009.
In his capacity as a member of the NHL's Board of Governors, Hotchkiss was widely known for his fairness and integrity. In the mid-1990s, he was instrumental in convincing the NHL to adopt a "currency equalization program" to help struggling Canadian franchises when the Canadian dollar was extremely weak.
Hotchkiss was recognized throughout his life for his significant contributions to society. In 1997 he was made an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA (promoted to Companion in 2009) and in 1998 he was awarded the Alberta Order of Excellence. He was inducted into the HOCKEY HALL OF FAME in 2006 in the Builder category. He received honorary degrees from Michigan State and the University of Calgary.
Hotchkiss felt that one of the responsibilities of being successful was to give back to the community. In 2004, the Calgary Brain Institute became the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in recognition of his support and contribution to health care and the neurosciences.
Hotchkiss died of cancer in 2011. At the time of his death, Prime Minister Stephen HARPER called him "a great Canadian. As a hockey fan, I will forever be grateful for his role in bringing the Flames to Calgary."