The team was founded in 1972 in Atlanta as the Atlanta Flames, and relocated to Calgary in 1980. The Flames played their first three seasons in Calgary at the Stampede Corral before moving into their current home arena, the Scotiabank Saddledome (originally known as the Olympic Saddledome), in 1983. In 1985–86, the Flames became the first Calgary team since the 1923–24 Tigers to compete for the Stanley Cup. In 1988–89, the Flames won their first and only championship. The Flames' unexpected run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals gave rise to the Red Mile, and in 2011 the team hosted and won the second Heritage Classic outdoor game.
The Flames have won two Presidents' Trophies as the NHL's top regular-season team, and have claimed seven division championships. Individually, Jarome Iginla is the franchise leader in games played, goals and points and is a two-time winner of the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's leading goal scorer. Miikka Kiprusoff has the most wins by a goaltender in a Calgary Flames uniform. Eleven people associated with the Flames have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Off the ice, Calgary Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Flames, also own a Western Hockey League franchise (the Calgary Hitmen), a National Lacrosse League franchise (the Calgary Roughnecks) and a Canadian Football League franchise (the Calgary Stampeders). Through the Flames Foundation, the team has donated more than CA$32 million to charity throughout southern Alberta since the franchise arrived.