A former president of the Canadian Soccer League will join the sports group that owns Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Forge FC as a member of the executive committee.
Jim Lawson says he is now part of the Hamilton Sports Group and creates a trust fund for the organization that includes owner Bob Young and CEO Scott Mitchell.
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“I have had a close relationship with Bob and Scott over the years since I joined the Canadian Football League in 2013,” Lawson said when confirming his appointment.
“Bob and Scott approached me to come help them and I will do whatever they want me to do. I’ve said many times that I can help anyway. “
The 63-year-old Hamilton native says he isn’t likely to have much free time anytime soon as he continues in his role as CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group, Canada’s largest racetrack operator.
Lawson has also served as chairman of the board of the Ontario Racing Commission and served as president of the Jockey Club of Canada.
The new executive served as chairman of the CFL’s board of directors in 2013 and was a two-time league commissioner in 2014 and 2017. He received the commissioner’s award before leaving the CFL in 2019.
Lawson said his tenure as the leader was “difficult” considering the pressures of answering to nine owners, all with different governance structures within their organizations.
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“You have privately owned teams and you have corporate-owned teams and you have community-owned teams and they’re not always on the same agenda,” Lawson said.
He is also a member of the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame as of Tuesday night. He said his induction was a bit surprising.
“You don’t really go through life thinking about it,” Lawson said. “It’s not something you spend your time concentrating on.”
Lawson ventured into the sports world in the 1970s playing minor hockey and was finally selected by the Montreal Canadiens in 1978.
However, during his athletic career, he began pursuing a life in law and applied to Brown University knowing that it had a high acceptance rate among students.
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“My recruiting dinner was in Providence, Rhode Island in 1975, I had dinner with a supreme court judge and told him that ultimately I wanted to go to Brown and practice law,” Lawson said.
He would eventually retire from hockey after a stint in the American Hockey League with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, completing his five-year law education at the University of Western Ontario.
He has also served as a director at Algoma Steel and Sleep Country Canada.
“I’ve always had a passion for soccer, sports, and horse racing,” Lawson said.
“I have been very lucky to be able, in my business career, my professional career, to follow that passion.”
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