This is David’s 19th season as owner of the BC Lions Football Club after taking over the franchise in January 1997. In that time, David’s leadership has spearheaded the club’s growth into one of Canada’s most recognized and respected sports marketing brands.
A member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the Builder category (2012), David has overseen a Lions brand which has experienced exceptional growth in the area of corporate partnerships. Following the overwhelming success of the Grey Cup Festivals in 2005 and 2011, the Lions played host the very successful 102nd Grey Cup last November, the fourth time during David’s time as owner that the club has hosted the nation’s biggest annual sporting event.
Born in Montreal and growing up in Hamilton, David’s CFL roots date back to 1987 when he became the owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He has also served as chair of the CFL’s Board of Governors as well as the CFL’s interim commissioner from March 2002 to November 2002.
A leader among his peers on the Board of Governors, David’s efforts in recent years have spurred the unprecedented popularity of the league and have included his recent ownership of the Toronto Argonauts and stewardship of the franchise through to its sale to Bell Canada and Larry Tanenbaum’s Kilmer Group this coming December.
David began his business career with the General Motors Acceptance Corporation in Hamilton, before advancing on to London Life Insurance. In 1969, he acquired William Orlick Limited, which subsequently became Orlick Industries Limited, a leading auto parts manufacturer. He was also the founding chairman of Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc., which includes the Hamilton Convention Centre, Hamilton Place and Copps Coliseum.
David’s long history of success in business quickly translated to the gridiron as the Lions captured the Grey Cup in 2000, their first under his ownership. His dedication to the success and growth of the organization has paid off twice more in 2006 and 2011 as the club captured its fifth and sixth Grey Cup titles. Under his leadership, the Lions are considered one of British Columbia’s model corporate citizens, a team active in charitable and community endeavours focused on health and wellness, public education and the development of amateur football.
In May 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed David to the Senate noting his involvement in sport and philanthropy as well as his commitment to both his community and country. He served his country as a Senate until November 2013, at which time he resigned to spend more time on his business endeavours.