David Braley

Last updated

David Braley

Canadian businessman & CFL owner David Braley (2010).jpg
Senator for Ottawa
In office
20 May 2010 30 November 2013
Preceded by Wilbert Keon
Constituency Ontario
Personal details
Born(1941-05-31)May 31, 1941 [1]
Montreal, Quebec [2]
DiedOctober 26, 2020(2020-10-26) (aged 79)
Burlington, Ontario
Political party Conservative Party of Canada
Residence Burlington, Ontario
Alma mater McMaster University
Football career
Career information
Position(s) Owner
Career history
As administrator
1987–1990 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
1997–2000 Vancouver 86ers
1997–2020 BC Lions
2010–2015 Toronto Argonauts
Career highlights and awards
Career stats

David Osborn Braley OC (31 May 1941 – 26 October 2020) was a Canadian businessman and politician who was the owner of the BC Lions and previously owner of the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2010 as a Conservative, but resigned three years later [3] stating no official reason. [4] He was a member of the Order of Canada and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.


Early life

Braley was born in Montreal and raised in Hamilton, Ontario where he attended McMaster University. Braley began his business career with GMAC (now Ally Financial) in Hamilton, before joining London Life Insurance. In 1969, he purchased William Orlick Limited (now Orlick Industries Limited), a leading auto parts manufacturer based in Stoney Creek, Ontario and remained its owner and president. He lived in Burlington, Ontario. [4] [5]

Sports career

Braley owned the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1987 until 1990 when the team returned to community ownership. [6] He returned to the CFL with his purchase of the Lions in 1997. [5] He also owned the Vancouver 86ers soccer club, later the Vancouver Whitecaps, of the A-League, keeping professional soccer alive from 1997–2000. [7] In early 2010, he also became owner of the Argonauts, becoming the only person to own two CFL teams simultaneously. [8] In an effort to minimize the ensuing controversy, the league has scheduled games between the Lions and Argonauts early in the season in order to avoid possible playoff implications. He announced the sale of the Argonauts to Bell Media and Larry Tanenbaum on May 20, 2015, with the deal to close at the end of the year. [9]

Braley has served as the chair of the CFL's Board of Governors and was the CFL's interim commissioner from March 2002 to November 2002. [5] He was also chairman of the 2003 World Cycling Championships in Hamilton. [10]

Braley was a director of Ontario's successful bid to host the 2015 Pan Am Games and was subsequently a member of the board overseeing preparations for the games. [6] Braley resigned upon his appointment to the Senate, as the body's by-laws specifically bar elected officials and Senators from serving on the board. [11]

Numerous institutions across Hamilton, Ontario are named in his honour. These include the David Braley Athletic Centre and the David Braley Health Sciences Centre at McMaster University, [12] [13] the David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre at Mohawk College, [14] and the David Braley Research Institute at the Hamilton General Hospital. [15]

Braley was elected into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2019, in recognition of his contributions to the CFL and his community. [12]

Political career

Braley was appointed to the Senate of Canada on May 20, 2010, to represent the province of Ontario on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper three days after Conservative Senator Wilbert Keon reached mandatory retirement age. A member of the Conservative Party of Canada caucus, Braley had made donations to the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper among others, totaling $86,500, prior to his appointment. [16]

In contrast to the opposition expressed by other professional sports leagues, Senator Braley has spoken out in favour of the private member's bill C-290, which went before the Senate and, if passed, would allow the provinces to license single sports betting. He further stated that, due to his position as a sports team owner, he would abstain from voting on the bill. [17] The bill was ultimately stymied in the upper house and did not pass. [18]

Braley resigned from the Senate on November 30, 2013, without stating a reason. However, he had earlier told a newspaper that his wife asked him to consider leaving as the ongoing Canadian Senate expenses scandal was hurting the reputation of all Senators. [3] [4] Braley told the Hamilton Community News in September 2013 that "There are four people who are causing the problems for the other 100 senators" and "We are being tarred and feathered" as a result. [4]

Later years and death

Braley was hospitalized in 2016 with a foot infection related to diabetes. [19] He died in his sleep on October 26, 2020, at his home in Burlington, Ontario. He was 79, and suffered from an undisclosed long-term illness. [13] [19]

In his will, Braley is reported to have left a considerable amount of money to the BC Lions organization with the intent that the team be funded for several seasons and be debt free when sold to its next owners. [20]

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  1. "David Braley". myhamilton.ca. Archived from the original on December 16, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  2. "Backgrounder: David Braley" Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine , Office of the Prime Minister, May 20, 2010
  3. 1 2 "Conservative Senator David Braley resigns". Toronto Star. December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "PM names football tycoon to Senate", Globe and Mail, May 20, 2010
  5. 1 2 3 "David Braley – Owner, BC Lions Football Club – Alternate Governor, CFL", bclions.com
  6. 1 2 "David Braley" Archived February 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine , www.argonauts.ca
  7. Douglas, Alan (August 24, 2000). "Hometown Heroes Now Have a Hometown Owner" . Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  8. "B.C. Lions owner David Braley acquires Argos; replaces Cynamon and Sokolowski", Truro Daily News, February 10, 2010
  9. "BELL CANADA AND KILMER GROUP TO ACQUIRE ARGONAUTS". Toronto Argonauts. May 20, 2015. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  10. "David Braley – Conservative Party of Canada", Senate Biography
  11. "York U will grab Pan Am stadium if Hamilton dithers", Toronto Star, June 9, 2010
  12. 1 2 "David Braley, owner of B.C. Lions, dead at 79". CBC News. The Canadian Press. October 26, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  13. 1 2 Milton, Steve (October 26, 2020). "Hamilton philanthropist, CFL saviour David Braley dead at 79". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  14. "The Story Behind the Name". Mohawk News Desk. Mohawk College. July 4, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  15. Ralph, Dan (October 26, 2020). "Analysis: Braley could be gruff and stubborn but owner always had soft spot for CFL". Toronto Star. The Canadian Press. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  16. "Lions, Argos owner Braley tapped for Senate". CBC News. May 20, 2010.
  17. "Senator who owns CFL teams backs single-game betting". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. November 9, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  18. Chen, Dalson (September 22, 2016). "Parliament votes against single-event sports betting". Windsor Star. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  19. 1 2 Brown, Scott (October 26, 2020). "B.C. Lions owner David Braley dead at 79". The Province. Vancouver. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  20. 3DownNation: David Braley put aside money to allow the Lions to operate for ‘several seasons’