Minority owner Gary Stern stays away from Montreal Alouettes | Pro IQRA News

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Again, the CFL has possession issues with the Montreal Alouettes to deal with.

Minority owner Gary Stern announced Monday that he is stepping down from the day-to-day operations of the club as well as his position on the CFL’s board of governors.

“Today, I am compelled to share with you my current reality; I can no longer be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Montreal Alouettes,” Stern wrote in an open letter to Alouettes fans. “This is a very difficult decision for me and my family, but it is a final decision.

“I like this team. I love Montreal and our fans. As a lifelong sports fan, my role with the Alouettes was a dream come true. I loved every minute of it.”

Neither the CFL nor the Alouettes immediately commented on Stern’s letter.

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Stern and his business partner/father-in-law, Sid Spiegel, bought Alouettes in January 2020 from the CFL, but Spiegel never saw the franchise play.

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The CFL canceled the ’20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Spiegel died in July 2020. His age was not disclosed but Spiegel was listed as 89 when he and Stern bought the Alouettes.

“My wife Julie and I are still grieving the loss, over a year ago, of her father Sid Spiegel, who was my lifelong partner in business and in our shared dream of owning Alouettes,” Stern wrote. “He is also my close partner in life.

“His death effectively overrides the extraordinary plans we had for the Alouette family. We are ready and looking to invest long term in the future of Alouettes. Due to COVID-19 canceling CFL play, Sid, who is the majority owner of 75 percent, unfortunately never got a chance to see his team play. I will always regret it.”

Stern also serves as CEO of Alouettes and added that his 25 percent stake in the team “will remain.”

“Today, decisions related to team financing and operations rest with Sid’s properties,” Stern wrote. “The close partnership that Sid and I had, which includes our shared love of sport and our ability to grow our team as we have invested in and grow our other joint businesses for decades, is no more.

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“I only wish the best for our team, our fans and our community. I remain one of the biggest fans of the Alouettes and the CFL. But I will cheer from the sidelines when I return to my role as a citizen and step down. Thanks to everyone in Montreal.

“I will always cherish the memories we have made.”

American entrepreneur Robert Wetenhall owned Alouettes from 1997 to 2018 before the CFL took over the operation of the franchise while seeking new ownership.

For much of Wetenhall’s tenure, Alouette was a CFL powerhouse.

From 1999 to 2012, they finished top of the Eastern Division 10 times and advanced to the Gray Cup eight times, with three wins. But Montreal’s last Gray Cup win during Wetenhall’s tenure was in 2010 and the franchise missed the CFL playoffs the last four years of its tenure, racking up an overall record of 21-51 over that span.

And there are reports that the Alouettes lost $12 million in Wetenhall’s final season as owners.

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Montreal Alouettes suspends fullback Christophe Normand in response to child luring allegations

Wetenhall died in September 2021. He was 86 years old.

Wetenhall and Stern are opposite owners. While Wetenhall chose to stay behind the scenes, Stern took to social media to actively become the face of the franchise, going one step further by boldly predicting a win for his team.

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The ’22 season has been a roller-coaster affair for Montreal (4-6), second in the Eastern Division. The team sacked head coach Khari Jones after opening the season 1-3, with GM Danny Maciocia taking over as interim coach.

Montreal remains the only CFL team to beat Gray Cup champions Winnipeg Blue Bombers this season. But last week the club suspended full-back Christophe Normand indefinitely because he faces two counts of luring a child under 18, including one count of luring a child under 16, or who the defendant believes was under 16 at the time of the offence.

Montreal hosts the Ottawa Redblacks (2-8) on Friday night. On 20 August, the Alouettes drew 21,014 fans to Molson Stadium for a 29–28 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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