Future leaders in sport and recreation to benefit from Ken King’s impact

Legacy endowment established at MRU

Michelle BodnarMount Royal University | Posted: April 24, 2023

Ken King

After a successful career in publishing, Ken King became president and CEO of the Calgary Flames in 2001, eventually leading the company into the thriving Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) that it is today.

A larger-than-life personality with a legacy that will forever be connected to Calgary, Ken King is being remembered at Mount Royal University through a new memorial endowment. The student award funded by the endowment will benefit students pursuing a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education — Sport and Recreation Management at MRU.

A portion of revenue raised through an annual golf tournament organized by the Friends of Ken King and King’s widow Marilyn King, combined with funds provided by the Calgary Flames Foundation, has contributed towards the creation of the Ken King Legacy Bursary student award. MRU has established the Ken King Legacy Fund to help fund the bursary in perpetuity and serve as many students as possible who share King’s passion for bettering sport and recreation in communities.

After a successful career in publishing, King became president and CEO of the Calgary Flames in 2001, eventually leading the company into the thriving Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) that it is today.

Department of Health and Physical Education professor David Legg, PhD, has had many experiences with King, having first invited him to speak to sport management students in the early 2000s. King readily agreed, and was incredibly generous with his time, often staying after class to chat further. King also provided in-person tours of the Scotiabank Saddledome, including facilitating group shots on the ice level.

“The students were just kind of enthralled,” Legg says. “Here they had the president of CSEC and they could ask him anything, and he would respond, honestly.

“He gave them his time. And so for me, that is the epitome of the village that supports our students. He committed to it 100 per cent. When he was talking, it was to our students, and that's all he was thinking about.”

In recognition, in 2014, King received an honorary degree from Mount Royal University. This summer an induction ceremony will be held, where King's name will be added to a monument remembering those the MRU community has lost in the Dr. John H. Garden Memorial Park on campus.

A legacy comes full circle

Candice Goudie, executive director, charitable foundations/community investment for CSEC, former sport and recreation management student and Mount Royal alumna, says that the exposure to people, programs and businesses she had through the program was uniquely beneficial. Courses within the Bissett School of Business prepare students for the business aspect of sport and recreation management, while courses within the Department of Health and Physical Education focus on specific issues related to the overall ecosystem of the field.

This bursary fits in nicely with the values King portrayed, Goudie says.

“Ken really believed in students. He really wanted to support students through the Foundation, and through our work at the Flames. We think of ourselves as community leaders, and he was a community leader, so that's an important part of it,” Goudie says.

“We believe in supporting future Calgarians, future leaders, future citizens, and providing access to opportunities, information, expertise and mentorship. It's just part of the full-circle development of young people.”

Legg estimates that from 20 to 30 former Mount Royal students are currently employed at CSEC right now, and there have been dozens more over the years.

“I think a lot of that has to do with (King’s) welcoming nature and his willingness to embrace them and bring them into his orbit,” Legg says.

The ties run deep, with more than $650,000 provided to MRU throughout 20-plus years of partnership with the Calgary Flames Foundation, CSEC, Calgary Flames Alumni Association and the Flames Limited Partnership, primarily in support of Cougars hockey and student-athlete scholarships. Funds also include operational support for the hosting of the annual Crowchild Classic hockey double-header, which also generates funding for student-athlete health and wellness through ticket sales and 50/50 proceeds.

“We've got a great relationship with MRU. It's definitely mutually beneficial and we are really appreciative of it,” Goudie says.

Legg notes the symbiotic relationship carries on today, with Rollie Cyr, vice-president of sales for CSEC and others now being the ones to greet students and take them on tours.

“The story continues,” Legg says, with thanks to CSEC for all that has been received and will continue to be.

Contribute to the Ken King Legacy Fund and help fund the Ken King Legacy Bursary in perpetuity.