Jim Lawson To Step Down As CFL Chairman

By Ben Hamill - November 26 2019

Woodbine Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Jim Lawson will supposedly step down from his position as chairman of the board of the Canadian Football League at the end of this month, having already made the decision to do so earlier his month. An inside source has revealed that Lawson plans to make the announcement and go public with the latest decision soon after the Blue Bombers and the Tiger-Cats have finished up squaring it off with one another for the Grey Cup game.

The source furthermore revealed that Lawson’s decision was made following a realisation on the Woodbine CEO’s part that he had reached the point in his professional journey where he has now become “spread to thin” across his own platform of responsibilities and that focusing on one avenue of his career only seems a perfectly reasonable solution to the conundrum. According to those who have access to the innermost ranks of the CFL, Lawson has already made known his intentions to tone it down a notch on the professional front to the league’s board of directors.

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A Passion For Horses

Lawson is often heard to be speaking about his passion for the ongoing development of the thoroughbred horse racing industry at Woodbine Entertainment, with harness racing featuring at the top of his list of priorities in his capacity of pilot at the Ontario venue.

His love for horses and the horseracing industry for many years shared a spot with his passion for football. In addition to having chaired the CFL board since 2013, Lawson also spent quite the number of years being exposed to football thanks to both is father as well as his grandfather having played in a professional capacity.

Father Mel Lawson played in the position of quarterback for the Hamilton Flying Wildcats in 1943, which was of course the year the team won the coveted Grey Cup. But Mel Lawson not only played during that historical game; at the age of only 20 he that year officially became the youngest quarterback ever in the history of the CFL to have scored the winning touchdown.

Finishing Strong

Jim Lawson in all likelihood came by his passion for horses and horseracing from father Mel too. Mel Lawson purchased his very first horse in 1964 and grew into a highly successful breeder. He also owned Jim Dandy Stable and was regarded a true industry pioneer, especially with regards to building the Canadian horseracing industry into what it is today.

But Jim Lawson did more than merely live in the shadow of his famous dad and grandfather. He has been of a tremendous value not only to Woodbine’s development as Ontario’s leading operator, but also in his capacity of serving football in the country. His years of dedicated service to the CFL were duly recognised this year with him being awarded the prestigious 2019 Commissioner’s Award.

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