C/O Raj Taneja

McMaster alum, four-time Grey Cup winner and Order of Canada officer has died.

David Braley, a prominent businessman and McMaster University alumnus, passed away at 79 at his residence in Burlington, Ontario. Prior to this death, he served as the owner of the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League.

Born in Montreal, Quebec in 1941, Braley moved at the age of two to Hamilton. Braley grew up in the Steel City and attended high school at Westdale Secondary. After studying a year of science at McMaster University, he began his business ventures at General Motors Acceptance Corporation, later moving to London Life Insurance. He purchased William Orlick Limited in 1969, which later became known as Orlick Industries Limited. 

Braley began his journey into the football world by becoming the owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1989. After three years, he sold the team back to its community ownership. 

“I and the Tiger-Cats mourn David’s passing. He was an enthusiastic Hamiltonian and a wonderful benefactor to our community’s hospitals and universities,” said Bob Young, Hamilton Tiger-Cats caretaker.

“I and the Tiger-Cats mourn David’s passing. He was an enthusiastic Hamiltonian and a wonderful benefactor to our community’s hospitals and universities,” said Bob Young, Hamilton Tiger-Cats caretaker.

After a five-year hiatus, he purchased the BC Lion, which he owned until his death. 

“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,” said Rick LeLacheur, President of the BC Lions Football Club.

“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,” said Rick LeLacheur, President of the BC Lions Football Club.

While serving as the owner of the BC Lions, he led the team from 8,000 to 35,000 fans at its highest point. He accomplished great things on the field as well, including leading the Lions to a combined 52-19-1 record in the 2004-2007 seasons. In that span, the Lions won the Grey Cup in 2006, one of three the team wins during Braley’s tenure.

While serving as the owner of the Lions, he also owned the Toronto Argonauts from 2010-2015, the first person to simultaneously own two CFL teams. During that span, they won the 100th Grey Cup in 2012. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame during the same year.

Aside from his football journey, Braley owned the then Vancouver 86ers soccer team, later known as Vancouver Whitecaps FC, from 1997 to 2000. 

“When Mr. Braley made the decision, the primary reason he did it was because he knew that it was good for the community. I think that is most telling about his legacy. He will be missed,” said Bob Lenarduzzi, club liaison for Whitecaps FC.

“When Mr. Braley made the decision, the primary reason he did it was because he knew that it was good for the community. I think that is most telling about his legacy. He will be missed,” said Bob Lenarduzzi, club liaison for Whitecaps FC.

Braley’s athletic ventures advanced even further when he became a prominent voice as a director for the successful bid of the Pan-American Games to be hosted in Ontario. 

From an academic perspective, Braley’s legacy continues to live strong to this very day. The David Braley Athletic Centre adopted his name in 2006 after his generous donation of $5 million to build the centre. A year later, the centre’s clinic, David Braley Sport Medicine and Rehabilitation Centre, was created after another million-dollar donation from Braley.

In this same year, Braley donated $50 million to build the David Braley Health Sciences Centre, a healthcare centre for the City of Hamilton’s public health services and for the Department of Family Medicine at Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. 

“Mr. Braley’s incredible generosity has allowed us to support the health of our community through exceptional health care and high-quality teaching and research,” said Dr. Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences. The centre opened in 2015 and won the World Architecture Award in 2019.

“Mr. Braley’s incredible generosity has allowed us to support the health of our community through exceptional health care and high-quality teaching and research,” said Dr. Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Braley also served in the Senate of Canada from 2010 to 2013 as a member of the Conservative Party, appointed by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He resigned in November 2013 without stating an official reason. Six years later, Braley was named an officer of the Order of Canada, recognizing his efforts as a Canadian leader to the sport of football and health research.

Braley is survived by his wife, three sons, stepdaughter and stepson.

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