David Braley, longtime force and CFL club owner, dies at 79

David Braley CFL

TORONTO — David Braley, the owner of three Canadian Football League teams over the years and once the league’s interim commissioner, died Monday. He was 79.

He died at home in Burlington, Ontario, according to the B.C Lions, one of his teams. A cause was not given.

Braley also owned the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts. In one stretch, he owned the Tiger-Cats and Argonauts at the same time, the only person in league history to own two franchises simultaneously.

His teams won four CFL titles, among them Toronto’s championship in the 100th Grey Cup in 2012.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement Braley will “forever be remembered as a CFL legend.” He added Braley was “our champion in every sense of the word.”

Braley was born in Montreal and became a businessman in Hamilton, Ontario. He entered the CFL in 1987 as owner of the Tiger-Cats, who became community owned in 1990. In 1997 he bought the Lions.

In 2010 he bought the Argonauts and sold them five years later. Braley has served as chairman of the CFL’s board of governors and was interim commissioner for most of 2002.

Rick LeLacheur, president of the Lions, said in a statement that Braley was “a leader for whom his love of our game and our country went hand in hand and spanned decades.”

Braley ventured into other sports, owning soccer’s Vancouver 86ers and later the A-League’s Vancouver Whitecaps, until 2000.

He was chairman of the 2003 world cycling championship in Hamilton and was a director of Ontario’s successful bid to host the 2015 Pan American Games.

Braley was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He received the Order of Canada in 2019 for his contributions to the CFL and community leadership.