1953 - Lions Team Formation
On January 22, 1953, the first annual meeting of the club was held. In that meeting, Arthur E. Mercer was hired as the club’s first president. Later in the year, Mercer, Bill Morgan, Bill Ralston, and Whit Matthews went back to the WlFU meetings. This time, they sold the idea of a fifth Western team, and Vancouver was granted a conditional franchise. They were required to provide a 15,000-seat stadium, sell at least 6,500 season tickets, and guarantee travel expenses for the visiting teams.
All the pieces began to fall into place when it was announced that Vancouver would host the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, and that it would mean the building of a new stadium – Empire Stadium, which seated 32,300 people. By Easter of 1953, Annis Stukus was then lured away from the Toronto Argonauts to return to the West to become the first public relations manager, general manager, and head coach of the franchise.