Longtime B.C. Lions equipment manager Ken (Kato) Kasuya is being remembered as a tireless worker and valued friend. (B.C. Lions Twitter)

B.C. Lions equipment manager Ken Kasuya remembered as ‘treasured friend’

The cause of Ken (Kato) Kasuya’s death has not been disclosed

Longtime B.C. Lions equipment manager Ken (Kato) Kasuya is being remembered as a tireless worker and valued friend.

The CFL team released a statement on Wednesday saying it was “deeply saddened” to report that Kasuya had died. The cause of the 53-year-old’s death has not been disclosed.

READ MORE: CFL, CFL Players Association to resume collective bargaining talks next week

Kasuya spent more than four decades with the Lions, starting out as a volunteer water boy in his teens.

He was hired as an assistant equipment manager in 1984 and moved up to the equipment manager role a decade later.

Lions president Rick LeLacheur says in a statement that the organization is “devastated” by the loss of a treasured family member.

“Tasked with the incredible responsibility to ensure the health of our players, (Kasuya) did so with passion, joy and tireless effort,” LeLacheur said. “He will forever be in the hearts of the legions of players and coaches who have passed through our locker room doors along with thousands in the football community across Canada.”

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said Kasuya’s personality and presence were important not only to the Lions but the entire league.

“He is one of those rare individuals who came to the CFL as a boy and dedicated his entire working life to our athletes and our game. In the process, Kasuya became as synonymous with the Lions as any star player or legendary coach,” Ambrosie said in a statement.

Mervyn Fernandez played for the Lions in the 1980s and 90s, and remembers Kasuya as simply “a fun guy.”

“Kato was my equipment guy the whole time there, him and Eddie (Georgica) and Bill (former trainer Bill Reichelt). They took care of us, anything we needed they got it for us. It’s sad to hear that he’s passed on,” the former wide receiver said in Toronto on Wednesday.

Several other current and former players took to social media to mourn Kasuya.

News of his passing was difficult to take, former Lions quarterback Travis Lulay said in a tweet.

“Kato was special; funny, humble, caring. He was like a locker room counsellor — the couch in his office has heard every story of triumph and heartbreak. He was a cherished friend. We loved you, Kato. Rest In peace,” wrote Lulay, who retired in February after playing 10 seasons with the Lions.

Retired offensive lineman Andrew Jones played in B.C. twice and called Kasuya one of the best people he met during his time in the CFL.

“(I) always found an excuse to go hang out in his office and joke around with him when I was with the @BCLions. #RIPKato you will be missed,” Jones said in a tweet.

Edmonton Eskimos kicker Sean Whyte thanked Kasuya for “years of laughs.”

“I never considered you my equipment manager, I considered you a good friend. I’ll miss your one liners and pre game handshake/hug,” Whyte, who played for the Lions in 2009 and 2010, said in a tweet. “I’ll never forget you Kato.”

— with files from Dan Ralph in Toronto

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cowichan Power and Sail Squadron celebrates its 60th anniversary

Many who take courses go on to become Canadian Power Squadron members.

Andrea Rondeau column: Crime Stoppers is back, plus, why crime is important to write about

As a newspaper we cover crime as more than just entertainment.

Kick for the Cure crushes records

Soccer fundraiser for MS brings in more than $30,000

Sarah Simpson column: Daddy Day field trip to City Hall a hit

“They want to go upstairs so I made them ask at the front desk.”

Duncan Dodgers win bantam tourney

Dodgers beat White Sox in tournament final

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Coming up in Cowichan: Spend Father’s Day fishing, or head to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Deadline coming to register for class reunion The Cowichan Secondary Class of… Continue reading

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read