David Asper to be Inducted onto the MB Jewish Sports Wall of Honour at the Rady JCC Sports Dinner

April 8, 2024

WINNIPEG, MB – True success depends on the strength of mind and character.

The Rady JCC is thrilled to announce David Asper, KC, as its 2024 Cyril ‘Zeke’ Marantz(z’’l) Manitoba Jewish Sports Wall of Honour Inductee for the Builders category. He will be formally recognized at the 50th Annual Rady JCC Ken Kronson Sports Dinner, taking place Tuesday, May 28, 2024, at the RBC Convention Centre.

NHL legends and former Toronto Maple Leaf teammates Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, and Grant Fuhr are this year’s trio of keynote speakers while longtime community volunteers and philanthropists Lana and Gregg Maidment will be honoured for their decades of commitment and dedication to both the Jewish and greater community. A crowd of over 1,400 business and community leaders are expected to attend.

The Cyril ‘Zeke’ Marantz(z’’l) Manitoba Jewish Sports Wall of Honour was originally created in 1999 to recognize and honour Jewish members of Manitoba’s sports community. Since that time, members of Manitoba’s Jewish community have continued to excel in sports, as well as builders in sports in our province.

Almost immediately after law school Asper became a go to lawyer for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and spent almost 15 years working behind the scenes with the legendary Cal Murphy and was a quiet contributor to the 1988 and 1990 Grey Cup Champion teams.

When the football club faced bankruptcy and was on the verge of having to fold, then Premier Gary Doer asked Asper to lead a provincially funded rescue package and in 2000 he became Chair of the Board of Directors and then continued as a Director and Vice Chair until 2014. Asper also served a term as Vice Chair of the CFL Board of Governors.

Together with Lyle Bauer and the Board, Asper led a remarkable turnaround and the Bombers you see today are very much a product of that effort.

Asper led the community effort to build a new stadium, establish better processes for football operations and have a strategy for a much better fan focused game day experience. His greatest joy is seeing how well Wade Miller has taken the Bombers to heights never seen before. David Asper was inducted into the Blue Bombers Hall of Fame in 2017.

That alone makes him worthy of recognition. 

In addition, however, Asper served on the Board of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and through that experience was heavily involved in facilitating the construction of the new baseball stadium when he collaborated with Sam Katz and got Canwest Global to buy the naming rights. This $1 million commitment provided the final funding that got the green light to build the ballpark, which has been an important asset for the local professional sports scene.

And now, Asper has overseen the return of pro basketball to Winnipeg with the very successful launch of the Winnipeg Sea Bears. Not only did the community readily embrace the Sea Bears but through its collaboration with Basketball Manitoba, participation rate in basketball increased by a whopping 25% in just one year.