The Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club is saddened to learn of the passing of former owner and iconic Hamiltonian, David Braley. He was 79.
Owner and champion of the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions since 1997, Braley previously owned the Tiger-Cats from 1989 to 1992 and the Toronto Argonauts from 2010 to 2015.
He spent time as Chairman of the CFL’s Board of Governors and also served as interim commissioner from March to November of 2002 before the appointment of Tom Wright. Braley is an honoured member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (2012), McMaster Sports Hall of Fame (2007) and Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame (2006).
“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,” Bob Young, Caretaker of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, said “The CFL and Hamilton communities have lost a great leader and champion today.”
Young added: “While David was well known for his role with the BC Lions, he was also always, at heart, a Ticat fan. Our sincerest condolences go out to David’s family, and his wide circle of friends and admirers across our community.”
Born in Montreal in 1941, Braley’s family moved to Hamilton in 1943 where he quickly discovered his true passion for the game of football after attending his first Tiger-Cats game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. That passion led to playing high school football at Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton and eventually to three decades of success as an owner and governor in the CFL.
After studying Sciences at McMaster University, Braley’s success in the business world began with General Motors Acceptance Corporation in Hamilton before he moved on to London Life Insurance. He then purchased William Orlick Industries (now known as Orlick Industries) in 1969, and over the next several years transformed it from a small business into one of the leading manufactures of aluminum die-cast auto parts. Orlick Industries has also provided jobs for hundreds of workers in the Hamilton area.
He was known for being a champion in the world of Philanthropy, donating over $125 million to various organizations over the years. From August 2006 to June 2007, he donated $50 million to McMaster’s medical school and an additional $5 million for the University’s new athletic complex, which is appropriately named the David Braley Athletic Centre. He also gave $10 million to Hamilton Health Sciences for a new cardiac, vascular and research institute as well as $5 million to St. Joseph’s Healthcare for operating rooms and kidney care.
In addition to his CFL involvement on the sporting landscape, Braley was a major force in bringing the 2012 World Cycling Championships to Hamilton in 2012 and was also part of Southern Ontario’s successful bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Braley’s long and storied career also included politics, as he was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May of 2010, and would go on to serve for nearly three years before retiring from government. In 2019, he was named an officer of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest honours.