Lions saddened by death of owner and CFL giant David Braley

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the BC Lions Football Club is very sad to announce that our owner and champion David Braley passed away peacefully this morning at his home in Burlington, Ontario.“We share this news with the heaviest of hearts. David has been a proud and staunchly loyal owner of our team, a champion of the Canadian Football League and a leader for whom his love of our sport and our country has gone hand in hand and has lasted for decades. We share our deepest condolences with his family, friends and fans, ”said Rick LeLacheur, President of BC Lions Football Club.

“One of his last acts of devotion to Canadian football was a clear expression of his desire for the stability of our club to be maintained through a smooth transition after his passing. We will work closely with David’s estate to follow through on this plan.

Also owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1989 to 1990 and the Toronto Argonauts from 2010 to 2015, Braley served as interim commissioner of the CFL and chair of its board of governors. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

Braley was a very successful entrepreneur with a business genius and a generous philanthropist who made huge contributions in health, research and sports, including amateur football. Passionate about politics and public service, he served his country as a senator from 2010 to 2013. Last year, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest honors.

“We have lost our greatest champion. All of us, associated with Lions, have personally seen, time and time again, David’s selfless commitment to our club and our fans, ”LeLacheur.

“But his example and inspiration, along with the direction he has given us all because of his failing health, fuels our confidence in the future of Lions. The BC Lions will continue to work hard to honor his memory by being the best we can on the field, in the boardroom and in the community.

Mr. Braley first bought the cash-strapped British Columbia Lions ahead of the 1997 season and is said to be leading one of the Canadian Football League’s most notable turnaround stories, on and on. off the field.

During his 2012 Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction speech, Mr. Braley said how proud he was to go from 8,000 fans in the stands in his first game as an owner to an average of 35,000 at the height of his tenure.

His first Gray Cup victory as a CFL owner was historic. In 2000, the Lions flipped the switch in November and became the first professional football team to win a championship despite finishing less than 0.500 in the regular season. Cinderella’s race ended with a 28-26 victory over Montreal in the 94e Gray Cup at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

Three years later, the heyday of Mr. Braley’s Lions ownership began when he and the late Bobby Ackles managed to lure Wally Buono, the CFL’s most successful head coach, to the Lions in Calgary.

The Lions finished first in the Western Division each year from 2004 to 2007, posting a regular season record of 52-19-1 in the process. In 2006, the franchise won its fifth Gray Cup and its second under Mr. Braley, beating the Alouettes once again, 25-14 in Winnipeg.

He would win a third in 2011 when the Lions went from a 0-5 start to Gray Cup champions, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in front of our home fans at the newly renovated BC Place. The 2011 Gray Cup Festival was also one of the most successful CFL events to date.

In addition to the three Gray Cup championships and the return of supporters to the stadium, Mr. Braley’s reign of ownership was also known to have Lions become major pillars in communities across the province. Before 2020, the club visited an average of 140 schools per year.

A former high school player himself, Mr. Braley has always believed in promoting football at the grassroots level.

It was then Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow who urged Mr. Braley to step in and buy the struggling Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1989. It was the start of his highly successful track record as a franchise owner of soccer. The Tiger-Cats would compete in the Gray Cup in his first season as owner and then return to community ownership before the 1992 season.

Mr. Braley was also the owner of the Toronto Argonauts from 2010 to 2015. The highlight of that tenure was the Argonauts who hosted and won the historic 100e Gray Cup. It was the fourth and final Gray Cup victory as a CFL owner.

A well-known leader and innovator, Mr. Braley also served as Chairman of the CFL Board of Governors and also served as Interim Commissioner from March to November 2002 prior to the appointment of Tom Wright.

Mr. Braley’s success in the world of sport was not confined to the Canadian Football League alone. He kept soccer alive in the market by buying the Vancouver 86ers (A-League) in 1997 and owning them until 2000.

He also played a major role in organizing the 2012 World Cycling Championships in Hamilton in 2012 and was involved in Southern Ontario’s successful bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

After studying science at McMaster University, Mr. Braley’s success in business began with General Motors Acceptance Corporation in Hamilton before moving on to London Life Insurance.

He then bought William Orlick Industries (now known as Orlick Industries) in 1969, and over the following years transformed it from a small business into one of the leading manufacturers of aluminum auto parts. die-cast. Orlick Industries has also provided employment for hundreds of workers in the Hamilton area.

Mr. Braley has always been known to be a champion in the world of philanthropy as well, donating over $ 125 million to various organizations over the years.

During a remarkable ten month period from August 2006 to June 2007, he donated $ 50 million to McMaster Medical School and an additional $ 5 million to the University’s new sports complex, which carries aptly named David Braley Athletic Center.

He also gave Hamilton Health Sciences $ 10 million for a new cardiac, vascular and research institute, as well as $ 5 million to St. Joseph’s Healthcare for operating rooms and kidney care.

In 2007, he received an award from the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association for his charitable and philanthropic contributions.

Mr. Braley’s long and successful career also included politics. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May 2010, and served for almost three years before stepping down from government. He received this country’s highest honor, the Order of Canada in 2019

Born in Montreal in 1941, his family moved to Hamilton in 1943. He quickly discovered his true passion for football at an early age when he attended his first Tiger-Cats game at the old Ivor Wynne Stadium. The love of the game is what led him to put the pads on at Westdale High School and, of course, carve out nearly three decades of success as the owner and governor of the Canadian Football League.

Mr. Braley is an Honored Member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (2012), the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame (2007) and the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame (2006).



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