Former CFL player Bryan Crawford named OHL commissioner

Photo courtesy: OHL

Longtime CFL player Bryan Crawford has been named the commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

The 42-year-old native of Hamilton, Ont. was a fifth-round pick in the 2005 CFL Draft out of Queen’s University. He played seven seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, rushing for 217 yards and two touchdowns, catching 17 passes for 140 yards, and making 136 tackles on special teams. He remains Toronto’s all-time leader in special teams tackles.

“It is an honour to be named commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League and I am thrilled to be joining one of the great sport institutions in our country,” said Crawford in a statement. “I am excited by the opportunity to build upon the legacy being left by David Branch. Thank you to the Board of Governors for entrusting me to lead our league. I look forward to engaging with our member teams and league partners while further familiarizing myself with the players, alumni, fans and all of the elements that make the OHL community so special.”

Since retiring from the CFL, Crawford has served as the senior director of operations for Canada Basketball, interim executive director and director of operations with Ontario University Athletics (OUA), an executive for Golf Canada, and the tournament director for the RBC Canadian Open.

“On behalf of the OHL Board of Governors, it is my pleasure to welcome Bryan Crawford to the Ontario Hockey League,” said Tim Lukenda, the chairman of the OHL’s board of governors. “When we embarked on this search, we were really wanting to identify someone who can lead the way forward and be able to build upon the firm foundation established under David’s influence over the past 45 years. The search committee came away confident in Bryan’s talents and ability to step in and lead the best development league in the world.

“Anyone succeeding David Branch as commissioner of the OHL is going to have big shoes to fill, but we have the utmost confidence in Bryan’s ability to lead the continued growth and success of the OHL as we uphold the standard of putting our players first while remaining a leading talent provider to both the National Hockey League and U Sports.”

Crawford and his wife, Catherine, live in Ancaster, Ont. with their three children, Thomas, Katie, and Claire.