Braley: GM woes won't hurt Lions

BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS VANCOUVER

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

If General Motors goes under, it won't take B.C. Lions owner David Braley along for the ride.

Hamilton-based auto parts supplier Orlick Industries was a major supplier to the ailing auto giant until Orlick's forward-thinking owner Braley shifted gears.

"We went away from the Big Three, six or seven years ago, and chased Honda and Toyota," Braley told 24 hours. "Today we're the supplier of choice for Honda. It made sense to go after the company that was producing more and more in North America rather than staying with the ones that were losing marketshare."

Braley said GM suppliers are losing up to 65 per cent of their business, but Orlick is only down 10-15 per cent. Meanwhile, he's optimistic the Lions can have another record year at the gate in 2009. The club drew 300,000 in 2008, the best regular season count since Braley took over in 1997.

"The economic environment in B.C. is not as bad as some of the rest of the provinces," he said. "I fully expect we'll have another successful year on and off the field."

There is no replacement for late-president Bob Ackles on the horizon. George Chayka (business) and Wally Buono (football) will split front office duties in 2009, with help from Braley and the Waterboys business booster club.

"I don't rush at replacing senior executives," Braley said. "It won't be done as good as Bob would've done, but we'll get the job done."

Potential buyers from as far away as Florida continue to approach Braley with offers, but the Leos are not for sale.

"Unless you want me gone, I'm going to stay for a while," Braley said.


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