VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Longtime CFL club owner David Braley has died at the age of 79.
Braley, who was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the “Builder” category in 2012, first bought the CFL team prior to the 1997 season.
Under Braley’s watch, the BC Lions won three Grey Cups – in 2000, 2006, and 2011.
“His dedication to the success and growth of the organization has paid off twice more in 2006 and 2011 as the club captured its fifth and sixth Grey Cup titles,” the team says in a statement.
— Adam Forsythe (@adamforsythe) October 26, 2020
Braley also owned the Toronto Argonauts, who went on to win the historic 100th Grey Cup in 2012, before the team was sold to Bell Canada and the Kilmer Group in 2015.
According to the Lions, Braley died at his home in Burlington, Ontario.
Described by the BC Lions as “a leader among his peers on the Board of Governors,” a statement from the BC Lions says Braley’s “efforts in recent years have spurred the unprecedented popularity of the league.”
“David has been a proud and fiercely loyal owner of our team, a champion of the Canadian Football League, and a leader for whom his love of our game and our country went hand in hand and spanned decades. We share our deepest condolences with his family, friends and admirers,” Rick LeLacheur, president of the Lions, said in a statement.
“One of his final acts of devotion to Canadian football was a clear expression of his desire that the stability of our club be maintained through a smooth transition following his passing. We will work closely with David’s estate to follow that plan.”
In the 100+ years of the Canadian Football League, I’m not sure there’s another person who individually invested as much money as David Braley did within the league. A tremendous supporter of the sport and a massive loss for the @CFL.
— James Cybulski (@JamesCybulski) October 26, 2020
He received the Order of Canada in 2019 for his contributions to the CFL, and for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic leadership in his community.
The BC Lions owner and chairman was born in Montreal but raised in Hamilton. After attending McMaster University, he began his business career with General Motors Acceptance Corporation before joining London Life Insurance.
Braley’s break into the CFL began with his 1987 purchase of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, which became community-owned in 1990.
In addition to his ownership of various businesses and CFL teams, Braley also owned the Vancouver 86ers and later the A-League’s Vancouver Whitecaps, until 2000.
Braley was appointed to the Senate in 2010 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper who noted his “involvement in sport and philanthropy as well as his commitment to both his community and country.”
Braley resigned from the Senate in 2013 three years before he would have been required to. At the time, he did not give a reason for his resignation, however, he told a newspaper at a later date that his decision was made with family in mind.