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

Haida Gwaii and Bella Bella organizations receive funding for arts and culture

The Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture funded 83 organizations across B.C. this year

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

This summer Masset RCMP will give positive tickets to youths

More than a dozen community partners are involved in encouraging good behaviour once school is out

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Most Read