In a critical move towards restructuring and revitalization, the Edmonton Elks announced the hiring of Rick LeLacheur as their interim team president and CEO. The CFL veteran executive’s appointment follows the departure of Victor Cui last week. The move marks an essential pivot for the Elks, a team facing unprecedented challenges both on and off the field.
A Seasoned Leader
Rick LeLacheur is no stranger to the Canadian football landscape. Serving as the president of the Edmonton franchise from 2002 to 2011 and the BC Lions for four seasons until last year, LeLacheur brings an illustrious history.
During his decade-long tenure with the Elks, the club made eight playoff appearances and secured two Grey Cups. His leadership was recognized with the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award in 2022, honoring significant contributions to the CFL.
Immediate Challenges Ahead
LeLacheur’s return to Edmonton comes at a turbulent time. TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor emphasizes the key challenge for LeLacheur will be raising capital this off-season. Naylor expects discussions about the CFL’s salary cap, its effect on rebuilding teams like the Elks, and possibly employing methods beyond the traditional community ownership approach.
The financial health of the Elks has been a hot topic lately, with the team’s chair, Tom Richards, denying financial trouble but acknowledging concerns after a net operating loss of $3.3 million in 2022. The team’s reserve fund, however, remains above $10 million.
The Elks are struggling this season, standing at a CFL-worst 1-9. However, they did secure their first victory of 2023 last week, beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 24-10. Despite this win, Edmonton holds a record for the longest home losing streak in major North American men’s professional sports at 22 games.
Fans and players will look to LeLacheur for inspiration and leadership as the Elks host the Ottawa Redblacks (3-7) at Commonwealth Stadium in Week 12, hoping to snap the home losing streak.
Rick LeLacheur’s appointment as the Edmonton Elks’ interim president and CEO is not just a homecoming; it’s a vital strategic maneuver for a team at a crossroads. LeLacheur faces immediate challenges to strengthen the franchise financially, foster community engagement, and turn around a difficult season.
Edmonton’s faith in the veteran leader is clear, but the road ahead is filled with uncertainty and challenges. The game against the Redblacks on Sunday, Aug. 27, with kickoff at 7:00 p.m. EDT, will be more than just another match; it will be the beginning of a new era for the Elks and their loyal fan base.
Big Announcement: CFL Unveils Free Live Streaming Platforms
Get Alerts & Stay ConnectedCFL iPhone App
CFL Android App