Former interim CFL commissioner Jim Lawson to be inducted into Burlington Sports Hall of Fame

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Former interim CFL commissioner Jim Lawson has been named part of the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame Class for 2021.

Lawson is being inducted as an athlete and builder due to his immense contributions to hockey, football and horse racing, alongside Sean Foley (builder, golf), Carol Angela Orchard (builder, gymnastics), Dr. John Kendall (athlete/ builder, running), and Don Lovegrove (builder, media).

In addition to his current role as chief executive officer for Woodbine Entertainment, Lawson has been heavily involved in sports his entire life as both an athlete and executive.

As a hockey player who grew up in Burlington and graduated from Aldershot High School, Lawson played ‘AAA’ midget hockey and was drafted by the Ottawa 67’s before receiving a scholarship offer to play at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Lawson was then drafted by the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens and played for the Nova Scotia Voyageurs of the American Hockey League.

Following his playing career, Lawson began practicing law and quickly started his calling as a builder in Canadian sports. This eventually led to his appointment in 2013 as the first independent chair of the CFL’s Board of Governors, where he held the position for seven years and served as interim commissioner twice. In 2019, Lawson was awarded the CFL’s prestigious Commissioner’s Award which is presented to an individual who has demonstrated dedication and made a significant contribution to Canadian Football.

“Jim is a great example of someone who has become a better person and a great leader through the lessons he learned as a talented athlete,” Bob Young, the long-time owner and caretaker of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, said in a statement. “In turn he has been able to make remarkable contributions through Canadian Football, the Horse racing industry, and a myriad of other projects that have made Burlington, Ontario, and Canada a better place.”

In 2012, Lawson was appointed as chair of Woodbine Entertainment’s board of directors, before being named CEO in 2015, a position he still holds today.