INTRODUCTION GIVEN TO GORDON KIRKE FOR A SPEECH HE MADE TO THE TORONTO BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO RAISE FUNDING FOR CHARITIES INVOLVED IN PREVENTING CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE
GORDON I. KIRKE, Q.C., LL.B., LL.M., D.JURIS (HON.), attended Osgoode Hall Law School where he stood first in his class and received more prizes and awards (12) than any previous Osgoode student. He was editor of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal and head of Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity. He has authored several legal articles and has been publisher of several journals related to sports and entertainment law.
Mr. Kirke’s practice focuses on the sports and entertainment industries and he is a Professor of Sports and Entertainment Law at both Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.
Mr. Kirke’s practice involves the representation of many components of the sports business. Among the many athletes he represents are more than 40 hockey players including Eric Lindros and Mike Modano, wrestler Bret “The Hitman” Hart, race car driver Kathryn “Kat” Teasdale, Olympic snowboarder and TV commentator, Tara Teigen, Olympic athlete Donovan Bailey, Olympic gymnast and TV commentator Elfi Schlegel, and WTA tennis star Sonya Jeyasselan. In terms of sports executives, Mr. Kirke represents Pat Gillick (Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners), Gord Ash (Milwaukee Brewers), Paul Beeston (Major League Baseball), Richard Peddie (Toronto Maple Leafs/Toronto Raptors), John Bitove (Olympic Bid Group), Ken Derrett (San Diego Chargers), Tom Wright (CFL Commissioner), Ron Bremner (Calgary Flames) and Eric Tillman (Ottawa Renegade). Mr. Kirke has acted for several sports teams including the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Argonauts, the Toronto Raptors and the Indianapolis Colts. He prepared the original papers which created the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and he has acted on all of the Jays’ major player contracts, including the contracts for Joe Carter, Doc Halladay, Shaun Green, Robbie Alomar, Carlos Delgado and Roger Clemens, and the Jays’ radio, television and licensing contracts.
Mr. Kirke represents a number of media sports personalities, including John Shannon (Hockey Night in Canada), Nick Kypreos (SportsNet), Tara Teigen (NBC), Stephen Brunt (Globe and Mail/FAN), Gord Stellick (FAN), Jim Van Horne (SportnNet), Marty York (SportsNet), Dan Pollard (Global), Bob McCown (FAN), Damien Goddard (Raptors TV), Michael Landsberg (TSN), Elliotte Friedman (Hockey Night in Canada), Elfi Schlegel (NBC), Rob Christie (JACK radio), Tarzan Dan, Don Landry (FAN), etc.
His client list includes leagues such as the Ontario Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League as well as unions such as the National Hockey League Players Association and the Professional Hockey Players Association. He represents the players of Team Canada ‘72 of the famous Russia- Canada series and the Olympic athletes of OATH, the organization dedicated to restoring Olympic ideals. Mr. Kirke has represented several sponsors of sporting events, including Labatt, Nabisco and Noma.
Mr. Kirke was the first Canadian Director of the Sports Lawyers Association. He will be chairing the first-ever conference of the Sports Lawyers Association to be held outside of the U.S.
In August 1977, he completed the Players First Report in connection with sexual abuse and harassment in hockey. He was honoured by York Region Abuse Program at a special dinner for his contribution in the war against child abuse. He has received an award from Halton Centre for Childhood Sexual Abuse. He is a former director of both the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation and the Survivor Monument Project. He is a past director of the Scarborough Distress Centre and serves on the boards of several other charities, including Special Olympics and the Easter Seal Society Dinner.
Mr. Kirke has served as a director of The Children’s Aid Foundation of Metropolitan Toronto. For three years, he has been Chair of the Awards and Scholarships Committee. He has been honoured by Childrens Aid in the establishment of the Gordon Kirke Scholarship presented annually to students who have been in the care of Childrens Aid and who need financial assistance to pursue a post-secondary education.
Mr. Kirke has been featured by the Globe & Mail for three consecutive years in its annual article as one of the 25 most important people in the sports industry. The Toronto Sun headlined an article about him “Sports Law is a Game Kirke Dominates”. Toronto Life called him “The Dealmaker” in an article about the very select lawyers other lawyers call for advice. The National Magazine labelled Mr. Kirke “the dean of sports law professors” and Law Times referred to him as “Ontario’s leading sports lawyer”. National Post just named Mr. Kirke in its article on “The Movers and Shakers in Sports”. He has often been mentioned in Sports Illustrated. An article about his representation of two hockey players to have been drafted first overall in the NHL Draft was titled “Kirke Back at Number One”.
Mr. Kirke has an active entertainment practice and has represented many recording artists (including Gordon Lightfoot, Dolly Parton, The Eagles, Love Inc., Three Deep, Back Street Boys, Kayle, etc.), on-air personalities (including Rob Christie, Humble Howard, John Derringer, Jane Hawtin, Tarzan Dan, etc.), actors, writers and models.
KSR Sports Representatives Inc. was formed with the principals being Gordon Kirke, Gord Stellick (former GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, former assistant GM of the New York Rangers and current radio and TV sports commentator) and advertising guru Brad Robins. KSR will be providing sports management services to elite athletes. In the 2002 NHL entry draft, KSR had five clients drafted into the NHL including Rick Nash who was the first overall draft pick in the world.
Mr. Kirke makes frequent appearances on radio and television programs dealing with sports and entertainment law matters. He is a regular guest on the popular drive-home show “The Roundtable” on FAN 590 and has been on TSN’s “Off The Record” more than any other guest. He has been a frequent guest on CBC, CTV, ESPN, The Team and ROB-TV. He had his acting debut in the CTV series “Power Play”, for which he was also a script consultant.
Mr. Kirke was a member of the Sportsco group which purchased the SkyDome and pursued the acquisition of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club.
We are honoured that Mr. Kirke has agreed to be the keynote speaker today to support this worthy cause.