Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski is the new treasurer of the CFL Players’ Association.
Dyakowski was elected to the position by player reps and executive members last weekend during the CFLPA’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. Former Ticat centre Marwan Hage is the first vice-president while another ex-Hamilton offensive lineman, Brian Ramsay, becomes the organization’s newly-created executive director.
The players also named a new president as Bombers centre Jeff Keeping replaces former Montreal Alouette offensive lineman Scott Flory. Flory served just two years after displacing former Ticat Mike Morreale in March of 2014.
Dyakowski denied Flory’s removal was a palace coup.
“There really wasn’t one faction against another, it was consensus to continue moving forward and developing the player’s association,” Dyakowski said. “I think Scott did a fantastic job throughout his tenure and made some big strides. The guys just thought this was the next step in our evolution.”
Dyakowski acknowledged, however, that some players were unhappy with the the collective bargaining agreement signed in the spring of 2014 with Flory at the helm. That deal saw salary cap jump from $4.4 million to $5 million in the first year with annual increases of $50,000. The minimum salary went from $45,000 to $50,000 with raises of $1,000 per year.
With a television deal with TSN that pays the league a reported $40 million per season – not to mention new stadiums in several cities – many players were expecting more.
“This last deal was positive deal in many ways,” Dyakowski said. “Could it have been better? Sure. But we still have guys making more than they were before.”
The current CBA expires the day before training camp opens in 2019 while the TSN agreement with the league has been extended through 2021, a fact not lost on the CFLPA.
“We do have an eye on the next round of negotiation,” Dyakowski said. “It is imperative that we get a fair deal for the players. Careers are short in the CFL and guys don’t get rich like they do in other professional leagues.
“We’ve got to make sure that for the dedication and sacrifice that they are putting into it that the players get a fair shake.”
In the meantime, it will be up to Ramsay – a nine-year CFL veteran who retired after being named executive director – to provide the players with some much-needed day-to-day leadership.
“I think having that executive director position full-time is going to make a big difference. We’re going to have someone who has authority, has power, can lead and can be the face of the association,” Dyakowski said. “Making us much more effective and it’s giving us a point person in dealing with the league.”