The Calgary Flames Logo: History, Meaning, etc.

The Calgary Flames have rocked stadiums and roused fans for more than 40 years. The team cemented itself as a strong franchise within the NHL and has become an essential part of its community’s growth. Between wins and awards on the ice and numerous charitable undertakings, the Flames have proven themselves as a premier sports team in North America. Fanatics will break through the surface of this organization so you can discover what makes the Calgary Flames logo unique.

The Atlanta Debut

The Flames’ history dates back to 1972 when the franchise emerged as an expansion team alongside the New York Islanders. Between 1966 and 1970, the NHL grew from six to 14 teams and wasn’t interested in expanding further — until 1973, that is. Then, when the World Hockey Association announced its plans to launch a professional hockey league within NHL markets in the fall of 1972, the league was cornered and forced into expansion.

Tom Cousins purchased the franchise for $6 million, naming it the Atlanta Flames in honor of the city’s destruction during the Civil War. Cousins then hired Cliff Fletcher as the general manager, and the Flames would go on to play their first NHL game. They hit the ice against their expansion brethren, the Islanders, beating them 3-2 in their new home: the Omni Coliseum.

The Calgary Flames saw early success in their inaugural season, winning 20 games with 19 losses and eight draws. However, they would only manage another five victories before finishing last in their division. In the 1973 NHL Draft, the Flames chose Tom Lysiak with the second overall pick. Lysiak carried the Flames to their first playoff appearance against the Philadelphia Flyers. Unfortunately, the club would fizzle out, and the Flyers swept Calgary in four out of seven games.

By 1975, the Flames had established themselves as a veteran team with star-caliber players, although they were still coming up short in regular-season wins and playoff victories. Between 1976 and 1978, the team would make the playoffs each season — and every season ended in disappointment. They only managed one playoff victory in 1977 before being tromped by the Detroit Red Wings the following year.

The Omni Coliseum achieved an attendance record at 14,161 fans per game on average in their sophomore season. However, between 1979 and 1980, attendance only reached 10,024, costing Cousins roughly $12 million in lost money during his 8-year ownership. On May 21, 1980, the owner sold the franchise to a group of Calgary businessmen led by Nelson Skalbania for $16 million, which, at the time, was the most any owner had ever paid for an NHL team.

The Flames Relocate to Calgary

After Skalbania and his fellow entrepreneurs acquired the Flames, they announced their plans to move the team to Alberta. Calgarians showed overwhelming support for the owner’s decision. The franchise managed to amass a crowd of 7,243 new fans into the Stampede Corral while selling 755 standing-room season tickets. The Flames would take the ice for their first game in Alberta on Oct. 9, 1980, against the Quebec Nordiques, ending in a tie 5-5.

Throughout the 1980s, the club accumulated a brilliant resume of achievements and milestones. Calgary’s new hockey team didn’t experience any slumps or hurdles, making the playoffs every year throughout the decade. Players seized the Smythe Division title twice in their 1985-1986 season and again in 1988-1989. Between 1987 and 1989, the team received two Presidents’ Trophies for finishing with the most points in an NHL regular season.

Topping off this club’s long list of achievements are two Stanley Cup appearances. The Flames would take on their rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, in both series. After five games of championship play, the Canadiens defeated the Flames in the 1986 finals with a final match five score of 4-3.

The Flames made it back to the Cup finals three years later in 1989, leaving victorious. After a grueling six-game series, the team defeated the Canadiens with a final game six scores of 4-2, making the Flames the first visiting team ever to win the Stanley Cup in Montreal Forum. Lanny McDonald and Mike Vernon were critical contributors to the team’s success. Owners retired the pair’s jersey numbers, then inducted Al MacInnis and Joe Nieuwendyk into the Forever a Flame team hall of fame.

The 1983 season was also a big year for Calgary and team fans. The franchise moved into the Saddledome stadium. Contractors originally built the 16,683-seat facility for the 1988 Winter Olympics, and on October 15, devoted hockey fans swarmed in to watch their beloved Flames on their new home ice.

The turn of the decade created new opportunities for Calgary’s success. The NHL issued a league-wide shake-up and restructured the divisions, moving the team into the Pacific Division by 1993. This move worked in favor of the Flames, allowing them to finish in 1st place by the end of the 1993 season and again the following year.

The 1990s brought about more opportunities in the form of junior team acquisition. The Flames purchased the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen. This purchase would be the catalyst for the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which continues to operate today. The company now oversees and owns five sports organizations, including the Calgary Flames, Calgary Hitmen, Calgary Roughnecks, Calgary Stampeders, and the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League.

The Calgary Flames entered the new millennium riding a rocket of success. Continuing their elite level of play, the club made their third Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, eliminating the league’s top three teams en route to the finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the team would lose that game, falling at the very end of the seven-game series. This final face-off would spawn the term “C of Red” due to the vast number of Flames jerseys on display in the bleachers. This Calgary phenomenon remains a staple of every home game still today.

The NHL would recognize the achievements of Flames’ co-owner Harley Hotchkiss and broadcaster Peter Maher in 2006. The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Hotchkiss as a builder, while Maher received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. Sadly the Flames lost one of their founders, Doc Seaman, in 2009. The league would honor the former co-owner by inducting him into the 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder as well.

NHL Calgary Flames Logos

Calgary Flames Logo History

The Flames hockey club played under Atlanta’s insignia for eight seasons. The primary logo for this iteration was a blazing “A.” The emblem’s designer used two colors: white on the inside and a dull dark red for the main body. The middle of the “A” featured a flame reaching upward. The stylized writing option appeared as if a bolt strikes down the left-inclining stroke.

Moving to Calgary, the franchise chose to keep the club’s name, as it represented Canada’s rich oil mining history. The club would also keep the same basic emblem for their Calgary Flames hockey logos, simply swapping out the blazing “A” with a “C” for the new city.

The original creator of the Calgary Flames’ old logo, Patricia Reddit, designed the “C” in a bold orange color with a striking yellow outline. Reddit would save the flame design but brought it to the back of the “C” as if propelling the letter forward, generating the nickname the Flaming C. This refreshed 2020 Calgary Flames logo graces officially licensed sports apparel and sports collectibles that devoted fans of all leagues wear around Alberta.

NHL Calgary Flames Alternate Logos

The Calgary Flames Alternate Logo

The first alternate mark the Calgary Flames utilized was a golden horse head. Red flames pour from its nostrils, and its eyes glow with the same dark hue. Next, the artist incorporated a red flame in the middle of the mascot’s forehead to represent the club, and fans grew to love this emblem. Once called the Stallion jersey, the city eventually dubbed the horse Blasty, and he would appear on the players’ away uniforms between 2000 and 2003.

From 2014 through 2016, the team used a new, heavily designed alternate insignia. This mark was a circular crest that depicted a setting sun behind an extensive mountain range. A letter “C” displayed within the sun’s center comes together at the bottom  with an “F.” The artist angled it in such a way that it appeared to become part of the background peaks. Gold bars below the mountain reach upward and pay homage to the local wheat industry. The Flames’ name stretches across the top of the crest on a red background.

With such a short span in the league, it’s easy to see why the Calgary Flames have only used a couple of logos on their memorabilia. However, they have seen excellent success throughout their past and have created a logo that would stand the test of time and be recognized by hockey fans worldwide. Amongst all of this history, the Flames continue to look forward to new success. So stay tuned for what’s to come with the Calgary Flames.



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