An emblematic figure in the world of sports as well as in the Québec and Canadian business community, Marcel Aubut, O.C., O.Q., Q.C., Ad. E., has been a corporate lawyer for more than thirty years. A partner with Heenan Blaikie, he is a member of both our National Management Committee and our Executive Committee. His sense of entrepreneurship coupled with his enthusiasm for major challenges, motivates clients to look to him for assistance in the development of their businesses.
In 1983, Mr. Aubut founded the firm of Aubut Chabot which then merged, in 1998, with the Pan-Canadian firm of Heenan Blaikie. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of Trans-Canada Productions Ltd. as well as founding president of Québec Metro High Tech Park. In 1979, he led the merger of the World Hockey Association and the National Hockey League and was the architect behind the establishment of the Québec Nordiques into the National Hockey League. For 16 years, he sat as Governor of the National Hockey League.
His verve and drive have come to the fore many times. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of Rendez-Vous 87, an international festival of sports, culture and the arts held in Québec City; at a time when the Iron Curtain was dividing the world, organizing an event where the Soviet Union, the United States and Canada were shoulder to shoulder was quite an achievement. Marcel Aubut also ignored political barriers when he orchestrated the defection of Czech hockey players, forcing the National Hockey League to open its doors to the Eastern bloc countries. He did not hesitate to challenge the monopoly that for a long time controlled the broadcasting of hockey games, which led to a competitive environment that now benefits the world of professional sports.
He contributed to changing the face of the National Hockey League by spearheading various projects including the introduction of overtime periods to avoid tied games, the use of video replays and the arrival of professional players at the Winter Olympic Games.
The countless companies and boards with which Marcel Aubut has been involved with over the years demonstrate his versatility and, above all, his vast experience in the world of business. These include, among others, Atomic Energy of Canada, Olymel L.P. (Olybro), Æterna Zentaris Inc., Boralex Power Income Fund, Triton Electronik, Whole Foods Market Canada, Hydro-Québec (Executive Committee), Purolator Courier Ltd., Tremblant Resort, Cinar Inc., La Laurentienne générale, La Laurentienne vie, Investors Group Inc., Transforce Inc., Intra Continental Insurers Ltd., the National Hockey League Pension Society, Boréal Assurances Agricoles Inc., Entreprises Premier CDN Ltée, Les Industries Amisco Ltée, Donohue Matane Inc., La Société de développement du Loisir et du Sport du Québec, the Canadian Olympic Foundation, member of VANOC’s Audit Committee, Governance and Ethics Committee and Observer Team, Sodic Québec Inc., Innovatech Québec, Textile Dionne, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Committee for the 2002 Quebec City Olympic Games Bid, the Committee for the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games Bid, He has also presided over the establishment of numerous industrial projects in the greater region of Quebec City. In 2011, he was named president of the Board of Directors of Century Iron Mines Corporation.
Besides his numerous undertakings in the business world, Marcel Aubut is actively involved in his community and participates in myriad philanthropic activities. In 1995, he created the Fondation Nordiques, an organization that has distributed more than $4 million in scholarships and assisted over 400 athletes to achieve their best performances in international competitions. Over the years, he has been associated with numerous social causes, such as The McGill Head and Neck Cancer Fund, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Fondation Jean Lapointe, the Red Cross and the Maison Dauphine.
Mr. Aubut’s passion for sports remains as vivid as it was in the early days of the Nordiques. Hence, in 2005, he was elected to the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). In the spring of 2006, to promote the Olympic spirit in Québec City, he organized Célébrons l’excellence, a string of festivities that will remain a milestone in the history of the city and of the Olympic movement. This tradition has continued over the years in several Canadian cities, resulting in the collection of millions of dollars on every occasion for our Olympians. On March 28, 2009, Mr. Aubut was voted President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, the first Francophone and individual not associated with an Olympic sport to be nominated since the Committee’s creation in 1904. In 2010, he became President of the COC and with that title would lead the Canadian Olympic team into the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 games. He was also appointed Vice-President to the Executive Committee of the Association francophone de comités nationaux olympiques, named Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Olympic Foundation, and named Honorary Chair of Olympians Canada. In 2012, he was ranked 5th most influential person in the Canadian Sports Industry according to Globe and Mail’s Power 50 List, and 6th in the same ranking by the CBC. In 2011, Mr. Aubut was appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee's International Relations Commission and in 2012 to the Executive Committee of the PanAmerican Games. In April 2011, he also addressed the Canadian/UK Chamber of Commerce in London and spoke at the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Convention as well as at The Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Moncton Centre-ville. In the spring of 2012, during the Congressional SportAccord, Marcel Aubut successfully united more than 4000 participants for a dinner conference with Jacques Rogge. Not only did the event collect a considerable amount of funds for our Canadian athletes, but it allowed the City of Québec to position itself as an epicentre in the world of sport on an international level.
For his exceptional contribution to Canada and Québec, Mr. Aubut received the Medal of the National Assembly of Québec in 1981 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1986. The same year, he became Member of the Order of Canada, and was elevated to the rank of Officer in 1993. And, in 2006, he was made Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec. In 2008, Mr. Aubut received the Québec Bar's honorary title of Emeritus Lawyer, and in 2009, he received the official medal of the Barreau de Québec. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and into Québec’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2010, he was awarded the title of “Grand Québécois” by the Quebec Chamber of Commerce, he received the “Médaille Gloire de l’Escolle” from Université Laval, and he received the 2010 Award of Merit from B'nai Brith Canada. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. He is the second French Canadian to be on the cover of Reader's Digest. According to a Selection magazine survey, Mr. Aubut is ranked 12th out of 25 most trusted personalities.
Mr. Aubut is also recognized as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of Sports Law in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada (Woodward/White).
- LL.L., Université Laval, 1970
- B.A., Académie de Québec, 1968
- American Bar Association
- Barreau du Québec
- Canadian Bar Association
- Sports Lawyers Association
- World Presidents' Organization, Inc. (WPO)
- Young Presidents' Organisation, Inc. (YPO)