Montreal, August 26, 2020 – Montreal Alouettes’ co-owner Gary Stern issued the following statement:
To Alouettes’ fans, sponsors, partners, and members of the media,
As you all know, I bought into this league in late December 2019, and I considered it one of my greatest moments that the other teams accepted Sid Spiegel and myself into their group, allowing me to be part of this great league and its storied history.
Sid and I knew there would be great challenges in taking our team, the Montreal Alouettes back to its former greatness, both on the playing field – building on the turnaround started with Khari in 2019 – and to put on a strong financial footing for the future.
The previous years had not been financially kind to the Alouettes, and that wasn’t sustainable.
We entered the year with great optimism and were looking forward to a great season.
I am not sure if was a stroke of genius, or a gift from above, but I had the good fortune of meeting and hiring Mario Cecchini as our President and then bringing on board Danny Maciocia as our General Manager.
Together, they have made great strides in reorganizing both the administrative and financial structure, as well as football operations. I have complete confidence in their abilities. I also want to salute the hard work from our employees during these particular times.
We already had in place an amazing coach in Khari Jones, a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Vernon Adams Jr., who we immediately signed for three more years, and the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in linebacker Henoc Muamba.
We knew we had over a million fans in Quebec waiting for the return of a team that showed professionalism and dedication to winning and being competitive on a daily basis.
We have a winner in place. We are on our way to a great future. Sid and I are more optimistic than ever.
We cannot use COVID-19 to hide from getting better.
It isn’t and won’t be the cause of the CFL’s demise. We must see the virus simply as something that showed us the many shortcomings of the CFL model.
We must now embrace the players as partners. We must also reach out to the fans who not only are loyal to us, but to all football fans out there.
We must evolve as a league and make many changes that are required to ensure not just 2021, but far into the future.
We must all stop now and not get into the blame game, but look into the future of this ever changing world and adapt our league to the new world.
That’s not an easy ask of the owners and presidents.
That’s not an easy ask of our players.
That’s not an easy ask of our fan base
That’s not an easy ask of our present sponsors.
That’s not an easy ask for our media partners like Bell Media and Cogeco.
That’s not an easy ask of our generous media.
And certainly, as we have seen, that’s not an easy ask for our government.
What is easy is that above all else, we agree there is a need and a great place for our very unique league.
I sincerely hope that all of you will look at the good the CFL has done over the years and give us some time and support as we grow and make it even better.
I assure you all nine teams wanted to play football in 2020 and want to play football in 2021 and in the future.
The CFL model needs some changes and 2020 has made that clear.
Our league is here to stay, it will not be collapsing nor disappearing. Please listen to each of your teams and give all the support you can.
We are here to listen, to change and come back stronger and better than ever.