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Clay Riddell, oilman, co-owner of NHL’s Flames, dies at 81

Calgary Flames co-owner Clay Riddell presents a silver

Calgary Flames co-owner Clay Riddell presents a silver stick to Miikka Kiprusoff to commemorate his 300th win before a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 11, 2012, at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mike Ridewood

CALGARY, Alberta — Clay Riddell, the billionaire oilman and co-owner of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, has died. He was 81.

The Flames and Paramount Resources confirmed his death Sunday, with the oil and natural gas company saying he died Saturday.

“We mourn the passing of a great man of industry, sports, philanthropy and human decency along with our city, province and country. His legacies to all of us are immeasurable. To his family our gratitude, respect and deepest sympathy,” Flames vice chairman and CEO Ken King said in a statement.

Riddell joined the team’s ownership in 2003 after spending much of his life building oil and gas companies, including Paramount Resources.

“On behalf of the National Hockey League and our board of governors we extend our deepest condolences to the family of Clay Riddell,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Clay’s passion and commitment to his city and beloved Flames will be deeply missed.”

Forbes pegged Riddell’s fortune at $1.2 billion in its ranking of the world’s wealthiest people. The oil tycoon relinquished his role as CEO of the natural gas and oil exploration company in 2015, when his son, James, took over the role.

“He was an incredible man with so many accomplishments,” James Riddell said. “He will be dearly missed.”

Riddell was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008 in part because of his creation of a program that helped encourage students to pursue studies in geology and because of his philanthropy, including a $10 million donation in 2005 to his alma mater, the University of Manitoba, to create an endowment fund toward its faculty of environment, earth and resources.

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