David Braley, Hamilton businessman and the owner of the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions, has donated $5-million to McMaster University’s athletics and recreation centre.
The announcement was made on Wednesday morning at the University. It is the second largest donation in Canadian varsity history, both of which have come to McMaster.
“We are tremendously lucky to have someone like David Braley step up to the plate and support university athletics in such a generous way,” said Peter George, the University’s president. “He understands the value of sports and fitness, and his donation is really a donation to the physical prosperity and well-being of our students.”
George said the athletics complex, which will be known as the David Braley Athletics Centre, will benefit McMaster’s student body as well as students and individuals across the Hamilton community. “It will enable students to participate in inter-collegiate athletics at the highest level, and will attract international athletes and competitions to Hamilton,” he added.
The Centre opens in September.
Braley, himself a former McMaster student and varsity athlete—he played for the McMaster Marauders’ football and basketball teams—said it was his desire to provide facilities that would enable the University to recruit the best student-athletes that prompted the donation.
“I know how important an attractive and serious training environment is for student-athletes,” he said. “It inspires students, it motivates them, it helps them feel valued. And it ultimately helps them succeed in the classroom and in the working world.”
When complete, the David Braley Athletics Centre will be one of the largest fitness centres at a Canadian university with 15,000 square feet of recreational gymnasium space and new facilities and equipment for McMaster’s fitness club.
The Centre will also have an indoor track with four 200-metre lanes and six 60-metre sprint lanes, four international squash courts, and multipurpose studios for karate, yoga, dance and tai chi. Members of the wider Hamilton community will be able to purchase memberships. A cornerstone of the Centre will be a sports medicine and rehabilitation clinic with hydrotherapy pool, one of the few currently available in the country.
Ron Foxcroft, chair of the athletics and recreation fundraising campaign, says Braley’s donation is indicative of a man who is committed to the community and its future.
“A guy like David Braley does something like this because he believes in Hamilton, he believes in sports and youth,” said Foxcroft. “People shouldn’t overlook the deeper message here: it’s about investing in kids and investing in this city.”