The Calgary Stampeders announced today that the Calgary Flames Limited Partnership is increasing its holdings in the football club and will become majority and operating partner of the Stampeders.
John Forzani, chairman and partner of the Stampeders, made the announcement on Thursday in the players’ lounge at McMahon Stadium along with Lyle Bauer, Stampeders president/COO, John Hufnagel, the team’s head coach/general manager, Ken King, president/CEO of the Calgary Flames, John Bean, senior vice-president and CFO of the Calgary Flames, and Alvin Libin from the Flames ownership group.
“This is a positive step for the Stampeders and is in the best interest of the football club to ensure its strength for the long term,” said Forzani. “Our No. 1 goal has been, and will always be, to make Calgarians proud of their football team.”
“We’re proud to have been a part of the community ownership group that took over the team in 2005 and look forward to continue working with the group in the future,” said King. “Increasing our ownership and involvement with the football club is a natural progression, fits perfectly with our group of community sports assets and will provide the Stampeders with an augmented business infrastructure.”
Bauer became the Stampeders’ 28th president on Jan. 18, 2010, and enters his third season with the club. Bauer will continue to oversee all business operations with the Stampeders.
“It is no secret that we have plans on improving the fan experience at McMahon Stadium and that is a high priority in our business model,” said Bauer. “The Flames will bring significant expertise and infrastructure to this and other initiatives. I know our dedicated staff will embrace this opportunity and look forward to working with the Flames to provide our fans great entertainment value.”
Hufnagel, who also signed a 5 year contract extension, became the Stampeders’ head coach and general manager prior to the 2008 season. Last season, Hufnagel moved into second place on the club’s list of all-time coaching wins and now has 47 regular-season victories to his credit. Hufnagel led the Stampeders to the 2008 Grey Cup title — the sixth in the franchise’s storied history — and was named the CFL’s coach of the year that season.
“The ownership group has been terrific to work with and I look forward to the new structure,” said Hufnagel. “John and Ken have assured me that it’s business as usual. My coaching staff and football operations staff will continue to do everything possible to ensure the Stampeders are a Grey Cup contender every season. We will continue to work hard to find talent at free-agent camps, scout up-and-coming players from the CIS level and ensure that the Stampeders are a force on the field.”
Closing of this transaction is subject to league and other approvals and is expected to take place in the next few weeks.
“This is an exciting development for the Stampeders and the Canadian Football League because it has the potential to take this franchise to even greater heights,” said Mark Cohon, commissioner of the CFL. “The entire ownership group that took over the Stampeders in 2005 has done an exemplary job of building a strong franchise that competes on the field, is a positive force in the community and has significant value as a business. We’re encouraged that the Stampeders will continue to draw on that group’s experience and expertise at the same time as they tap into the Flames’ first-class organization and considerable resources. The potential here is tremendously promising.”
The Calgary Flames Limited Partnership operates the Calgary Flames, the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, the National Lacrosse League’s Calgary Roughnecks and the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Heat.