It’s been a season of turmoil in Edmonton, actually make that a few years and that led to big changes on August 15. The Board of Directors of the Edmonton Elks and former President and CEO Victor Cui have mutually agreed to part ways. Rather than reflect on what was and what could’ve been, it’s best to focus on the future and hopefully a brighter tomorrow for the Elks organization. With that in mind, the biggest question is: who would be the best candidates to take on this position and restore trust and respectability back to the former flagship organization of the Canadian Football League?
The first name that often comes up is former Eskimo great Sean Fleming. Fleming is currently working in management in private business in Edmonton and with his reputation, knowledge of football as well as his experience in management, he would be an ideal candidate.
Another name that I think is worthy to consider is current BC Lions President Duane Vienneau. Vienneau was in charge of two of the most successful Grey Cups ever held in Edmonton in 2010 and 2018. He was also President of the Edmonton Rush from 2005-2009 where the team went from expansion to contender in the National Lacrosse League. It’s probably a long shot to consider Vienneau as he is currently under contract with the Lions, and has done a tremendous job since taking over from former Lions President and CEO (and Eskimos President and CEO) Rick LeLacheur. LeLacheur would also be a great choice if he would want to consider coming out of retirement.
Should the Edmonton Elks Consider a Change at General Manager?
Current Elks Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones has been under the hot seat since he was hired to take over the Coaching and GM duties in 2022. Despite the 0-9 record this season, Jones is still a good football mind. I believe Jones is best suited as a coach and the Elks should consider bringing in some experience for the general manager’s chair. Whether Jones would want a situation like this remains to be seen. It’s also too early to tell whether current Elks Assistant General Manager Geroy Simon should be considered a candidate to take over the job but with all the changes currently happening on a higher level in Edmonton, all scenarios should be examined. One of the biggest challenges for the Elks is where they are financially. Letting go of Jones could cost the organization an extra year of his salary, so you have to believe the future President and CEO would be looking at that closely.
If the Elks decide to go in a new direction in terms of a General Manager, who should they consider? Former Eskimo General Manager Ed Hervey would be an excellent candidate as a possible future General Manager of the Edmonton Elks. Hervey is currently working as Assistant General Manager for the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He was relieved of his duties in Edmonton in a controversial move back in 2016, and he deserves to be in the conversation as far as rebuilding the EE franchise goes. Two other names that should be at least considered are current Toronto Argonaut Assistant General Manager Vince Magri as well as Danny McManus who is currently Assistant General Manager, Director of U.S. Scouting for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Magri is a sharp football mind, known for his prowess at the draft table. He has helped built the Argos into one of the top teams in the CFL. McManus, meanwhile is a former Eskimo Quarterback, and in his nine seasons with the Bombers has helped build a mini-dynasty in Winnipeg.
A New President Could Also Mean Coaching Changes
Often times when a new President and CEO comes in, they want to hire their own people. Whoever the successful candidate will be, you can believe that Chris Jones and his staff will be looked at closely as to whether the Elks should make changes. Many fans have been calling for Jones to be fired all season. I think a lot depends on how the final nine games of the 2023 season goes. If, by some miracle, the Elks can start winning and catch the teams in front of them, then I think Jones could stay. But considering how the first half of the Elks season has gone, turning things around could be too tall an order for this current edition of the Edmonton Elks. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and turning the Edmonton Elks Football Team around won’t be either.
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