CFHOF Profile: David Braley

There are plenty of legends in the CFL and throughout the history of the CFL with many of them celebrated especially this year. With the 100th Grey Cup right around the corner people have heard plenty about the legends of the game. There are the Lionel Conachers, the Doug Fluties, the Ron Lancasters, the Pinballs, and many more. It has been a showcase of the history of the CFL this year and as the Hall of Fame induction gets underway even more history will be highlighted. Some of the best players to step on a CFL field will step in to the Hall this year and much of the focus will be on them. There are also some of the other great players of years past that many may not know but made their impact. Then there are the builders those people who didn’t play but still made a big impact on the sport and the league. These people are an essential part to the CFL throughout the years and so they are honoured in the hall of fame. It is a deserving place for these builders and this year two of them will make it in. The first is Peter Connellan who coached his way in to the Hall. Then there is David Braley who owned his way into the Hall but was much more than just an owner. The CFL is not the power that it’s brother from the south is in the NFL but it is a largely community based league. They may not have the fan count or the money that the NFL has but they do have the hearts of all of their fans who will defend the CFL anytime someone says it is an amateur league. Although teams do grab a following there are always troubles and Toronto has seen its share of troubles in the CFL. Despite their struggles they have continued to fight on and a big reason for their continued fight is David Braley.

Braley has been a longtime owner in the CFL first buying his hometown Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1989. After a brief hiatus from the game when he sold the Ti-Cats Braley once again became and owner purchasing the B.C. Lions and bringing his great business mind to the team. It was a successful marriage as the Lions began winning championships and becoming one of the best teams in the league. Clearly it is not all on Braley who essentially fed in money for the Lions to do what they wanted. His biggest contribution though could have been in 2010 when he purchased the Toronto Argonauts. He has done amazing things for the league as a member of the Board of Governors and at one point the Interim Commissioner. Yet still what he did for Toronto tends to stand out above everything else. In 2010 the Toronto Argonauts were up for sale but no buyers came forward for a team that was stuck in a crowded market and had not found a way to break through. They lost money regularly and so not many people wanted a piece of them but that was big trouble for the CFL. Without the Argonauts there is almost no reason for TSN to sign a TV deal again meaning the league looses visibility and eventually loses the momentum they have built in the last few years. This makes the league stall and unfortunately it all had to do with the team in Toronto.  That is where Braley came in as he purchased the Argonauts while still the owner of the Lions to save the oldest team in professional football. Braley saved football in Toronto and because of that the league continues to be more visible and continues to grow every year. This was one of the many reasons that Braley earned his spot in the hall of fame. He will go in with legends this year and for the fans of the Argonauts he is one of the biggest legends in the class of 2012 for his actions in 2010 as everyone will cheer on a CFL hero and a CFL legend.

 

David Braley, Builder
Owner of the B.C. Lions (1997-Present)
Owner of the Toronto Argonauts (2010-Present)
President/Owner of the Hamilton Tiger Cats (1989-1991)
CFL Interim Commissioner (2002)
2 Grey Cup Championships as an Executive (2000, 2006, 2010)

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