Braley makes first public comments since illness, says B.C. Lions must be sold

David Braley will admit what has been suggested locally about the ownership of the B.C. Lions for some time but still isn’t willing to commit to a timeline that would result in a change at the top.

The 75-year-old owner spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since he became seriously ill more than a year ago and repeated his intentions to sell the CFL franchise. However as he has done on numerous occasions in the past Braley would not specify whether it would happen soon.

“A sale could occur this year, next year or the year; everything is paid for,” he said. “We’re in good shape financially.”

In previous interviews, Braley has said he wouldn’t sell the team once training camp is underway and if that remains the case he would have just under two months to complete a deal this year with veterans scheduled to report to Kamloops May 28.

The Hamilton-based owner was last scheduled to attend an event in Vancouver last year at this time when he took ill prior to a breakfast put on by the team’s business advisory group, the Waterboys.

Reported as a bacterial infection, Braley said he had to undergo a significant recovery.

“I was very sick. I was in the hospital for over three months, then I had a rehabilitation because you lose all your muscles. I had to learn to walk again,” he said. “I’m about 85-95 per-cent.”

The owner was interviewed at the Lions practice facility in Surrey upon arriving from Hamilton Thursday, billed as an exclusive on the team’s website.

He was not asked about published reports that the family of Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini continues to inquire about a purchase, repeating that he has had numerous conversations with interested parties. Braley also wasn’t asked whether he will seek to secure a contract extension with Wally Buono, who is going into the final year of his contract as coach/general manager, or for a reaction to last year’s franchise record low playoff attendance for the West Division semifinal.

The only move involving management undertaken by the Lions during the current off-season came when Braley re-assumed the title of president that had been held previously by Dennis Skulsky, who is now listed as a vice-chairman. Club staffers have suggested Braley has been more active in day-to-day operations since Skulsky took a reduced role and that Braley will continue to run the Lions much as he has done for the previous 20 seasons.

Braley is scheduled to attend the Orange Helmet Awards dinner, the team’s annual salute to amateur football, in Vancouver Friday but before invariably being asked about the state of his team he only repeated what he has said all along with respect to his ownership, only with a slight twist.

“It has to be sold,” he said. “I’m 75 years old. I don’t want to be sitting here at 95 owning the franchise.”



Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.
Lowell Ullrich
Lowell Ullrich
About Lowell Ullrich (138 Articles)
Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.

28 Comments on Braley makes first public comments since illness, says B.C. Lions must be sold

  1. stampland // March 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm //

    Canucks ownership would make sense. Similar to Calgary and Toronto,This provides solid financial backing

  2. Met Mr.Braley , a true Canadian Football fan , Good Luck Sir !!

    • stampland // March 30, 2017 at 8:44 pm //

      Agreed Gem. This man has sacrificed and done more for this league than anyone.Both Lions and Argos(and I think he had ownership in ticats too at one time or am I wrong in that?),Either way the cost to him personally and financially should be remembered always

  3. Connecting with the NHL in a ownership relationship makes sense. It should be beneficial to both teams as it has with the Stampeders. The Nordstrom boys in Seattle might want to get back in the football biz again. Many years ago they started up and owned the Seahawks for a number of years.

  4. Glad to hear Braley is doing well again health-wise. While aspects of his various ownerships can be criticised, his stepping up to take care of teams that were in dire straits likely saved the CFL. (never mind his generous philanthropy in other areas of Canadian society, the impacts of which will be enormous over time)

    That said, the Lions do need to change things up on the business side of their operation. A new owner with fresh ideas and a solid approach would be great for the team, and the league too.

  5. As long as the team isn’t being sold to Nelson Skalbania, the Lions will be fine.

  6. or the Gleibermans!

  7. Braley said three years ago that he wanted to sell both teams by the time he turned 75. Yes he has stepped in and “saved” teams but he almost drove the Argos into the ground with his many cuts to spending because he “wasn’t going to lose money” on the team! If he has an interested buyer than selling sooner rather than later would be better for all concerned.

    • stampland // March 31, 2017 at 11:48 am //

      If you were going to spend millions on a sports franchise (and probably borrowing money to do so), would you want to be losing money? The fact is Argos still exist thanks to him.He stepped in when no one else would.

  8. Scottsask // March 31, 2017 at 12:37 pm //

    Stampland is right………feel better?

  9. Scottsask // March 31, 2017 at 4:08 pm //

    I will always agree when someone’s argument or opinion is factual or makes sense.

    • stampland // March 31, 2017 at 8:48 pm //

      You mean you agree with opinions and facts that are what you want to hear 🙂

  10. Slim Pickens // March 31, 2017 at 5:26 pm //

    Hearing about a big announcement tomorrow… word is that Martin Short,Dan Aykroyd, Ann Murray, Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman and Gordon Lightfoot are heading up a group that is funded by a group of Japanese business man (based in BC) with deep pockets.

    Wayne Gretzky showed interest but someone pointed out how he left John Candy in the lurch while a part owner of the Argos, so that was the end of Gretzky

    Stay tuned

    • stampland // March 31, 2017 at 8:40 pm //

      LOL I think the guilty party in Argos mess was Bruce Mcnall

      • Slim Pickens // March 31, 2017 at 8:55 pm //

        Hey I loved John Candy, liked Bruce and Wayne, but while John was all in, Wayne was busy filing papers to have the street in front of Gretsky`s restaurant changed to Blue Jay Way, I remember it very well, and all while John had his heart and soul into saving Argos

        • stampland // March 31, 2017 at 9:32 pm //

          You may remember TSN did a series of documentaries during 100 Grey Cup year called engraved on a nation.One of them was on John Candy’s ownership of Argos. Very interesting.

        • stampland // March 31, 2017 at 9:34 pm //

          We lost John Candy way too soon. His death inspired my friend to loss over 200 lbs which he’s kept off to this day.

          • Slim Pickens // March 31, 2017 at 9:36 pm //

            AWESOME, I have a framed pic of him in my rec room, they gave out the large posters of him at a special game dedicated to John, I found a perfect frame for it

          • stampland // March 31, 2017 at 9:50 pm //

            My Favorite movies are Great Outdoors, Summer rental and Who is Harry Crumb. Most people say Uncle Buck and Planes Trains & Automobiles

          • Slim Pickens // March 31, 2017 at 11:55 pm //

            Those are all great, Armed and Dangerous had some great moments as well

          • Wow, good for your friend. That’s really great.

            Candy had given so much and I think there would have been so much more he would have given. He’s missed for his talent and his personality.

            So many great roles, leading and bit parts. My favourites still include his SCTV personas (Yosh Shmenge, Johnny LaRue, etc) and roles like his small part in JFK, also Spaceballs, Stripes, Vacation, the Blues Brothers, along with the bigger ones he’s remembered for most.

          • Slim Pickens // April 2, 2017 at 9:24 am //

            Three Orange Whips

  11. Scottsask // April 3, 2017 at 12:32 am //

    I still use that on all the time!

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