The league entered a new and exciting era this year with the introduction of a new Commissioner, CFL Alumnus Randy Ambrosie.
A former Manitoba Bison, Eskimo and Argonaut, Randy was a leader on the OL and after retirement as he evolved into a leader in business. In one of Commissioner Ambrosie’s first significant moves, he fast tracked the “Diversity is Strength” t-shirt promotion as a positive response to the racial divide observed at a rally in Charlottesville Virginia.
In an era where statues representing controversial heroes from wars fought on both sides of a racial divide are coming down, we are seeing the CFL led by Commissioner Ambrosie promote diversity in the midst of hatred.
The recent unveiling of the Cal Murphy statue in Winnipeg illustrates this point. A Hall of Fame coach who was known as a hard-nosed old school task master was also a board member at Holy Cross Church in Regina. Coach Murphy embraced players from all backgrounds and religions and never forced any of his beliefs on his team. Sunday mornings were for worship according to Coach Cal; he always posted information on the bulletin board for players of all faiths to find their chosen church before attending meetings and training.
Game day it is the time where players from across North America unite as brothers to chase a common goal without division and racial divide. That elusive goal is the Grey Cup and to win it, brothers from different mothers have to band together to fight as one in the face of adversity. We can hope that social influencers such as Commissioner Ambrosie will help to persuade the narrow minded population to see each other as CFL players and alumni do; as teammates, brothers and sisters.
It was a good year for the CFLAA, notably we found creative ways to support alumni who have fallen on hard times and also welcomed back the BC Lions Alumni Association, returning the CFLAA to our full strength for the benefit of all alumni.
On behalf of the CFLAA Board of Directors I would also like to thank Leo Ezerins and Linda Wood Edwards for their work over the past year.