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

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

Parksville advocate to discuss harm-reduction measures for addicts

Morris, along with a panel of professionals, will be at the PCC on May 21

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Most Read