A name familiar to Edmonton Elks fans has surfaced as a potential president of the CFL club.
According to two sources, Neil Lumsden, who won three Grey Cups as a fullback with Edmonton, has emerged as a candidate for the Elks’ full-time president position.
Lumsden, of London, Ont., is currently Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. He was elected in the riding of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek in June of 2022.
But on Tuesday, Lumsden said he wasn’t interested in the post.
“The first I heard about it was this morning,” Lumsden told reporters in a scrum at Queen’s Park. “I haven’t spoken to anybody on either side.
“Listen, I’ve got a job now and I’ve got my hands full, I’ve got a lot to do here,” Lumsden said. “I really like my job … I really like what I do and I like the people I’m around.
“Of course, I’m connected to Edmonton because I played there … but I’ve got a role to play here. I’m not interested.”
The sources, including one in political circles, spoke on the condition of not being identified as the Elks have not divulged any details regarding their presidential search. Both said Lumsden hasn’t petitioned for the job, nor has he been offered it, but his emergence as a candidate makes sense given his association with the franchise and background, both in football (as a player and running a franchise) and business.
Rick LeLacheur has been Edmonton’s interim president/CEO since Aug. 22, assuming the post after the Elks and former president/CEO Victor Cui parted ways.
Lumsden played 10 CFL seasons with the Toronto Argonauts (1976-78), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1978-79) and Edmonton (1980-85). He joined Edmonton at a time when the team ruled the league, winning five straight Grey Cups (1978-82).
Lumsden was chosen the top Canadian in Edmonton’s come-from-behind 26-23 Grey Cup win over Ottawa in 1981.
Lumsden, who won a Vanier Cup at the University of Ottawa in 1975, was the East Division’s top rookie in 1976. He appeared in 141 career CFL games, rushing for 3,755 yards and 36 TDs on 767 carries while adding 180 catches for 1,729 yards and 15 touchdowns.
He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
After his CFL playing career, Lumsden served as Ticats GM/director of business operations (1996-99), earning a fourth Grey Cup ring when Hamilton defeated Calgary 32-21 in the 1999 game at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium. In 2003, he was named chief operating officer and general manager of the world road cycling championships that were held in Hamilton.
Five years later, Lumsden was named honorary chairman of the Vanier Cup that also took place in Hamilton. In addition, he spent three years as the athletic director at Brock University.
Edmonton has enjoyed a long and storied CFL tenure. The franchise has amassed 699 all-time wins – tying it with Calgary for the most in league history – and won 14 Grey Cups, the last coming in 2015 when it finished atop the West Division with a 14-4-0 record.
But Edmonton hasn’t reached the CFL playoffs since 2019. The franchise averaged just over 24,700 spectators per game this season, down significantly from 2015 when the franchise averaged a CFL-high 31,517 fans per game.
With a report from The Globe and Mail