Sid Spiegel, Gary Stern purchase Montreal Alouettes

Photo courtesy: Peter McCabe/CFL

Entrepreneurs Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern have purchased the Montreal Alouettes.

Spiegel is the founder and chairman of the board of Crawford Steel and Stern is the company’s chief executive officer. The Als were bought by S and S Sportsco, a corporate entity owned by Spiegel and Stern.

The pair of businessmen had previous investments in Quebec including steel plants in Longueuil and Rouyn-Noranda and real estate holdings. Stern will serve as the Als’ lead governor on the CFL board of governors.

“We see this not only as a challenge, but also as something that can be a lot of fun. We commit to them and our players, coaches and front office that we will do everything in our power to ensure this team succeeds. Our goal is to make Montreal and Quebec proud,” Stern said.

“We do tremendous business in Quebec and we have great respect for the province. We want to build this organization the way we have built our businesses: by putting good people in place and supporting them as they do their jobs, while working with great partners and understanding the market.”

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie presided over the process. The CFL officially purchased the Alouettes from the Wetenhall’s in late May 2019. The league and Wetenhall family had been working for several months to identify and assess potential new owners and that process had been ongoing with Ambrosie leading the way.

“These gentlemen emerged with the best offer in hand and the best interests of the Alouettes and their fans at heart. They have a genuine passion for football in Montreal and the resolve and resources to make the team successful over the long term,” Ambrosie said.

The Alouettes’ roots are as deep. The first written account of a football game in Montreal dates back to 1868. The first pro team in Montreal was organized in 1872 in the Mechanics Hall Building at McGill University.

In 1946, the Montreal Alouettes Football Club was founded as a successor to the teams of years past and the team’s name was chosen to honour the first French Canadian squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force, an outfit heralded for its daring, bravery and skill.

The Alouettes have since captured seven Grey Cup championships (1949, 1970, 1974, 1977, 2002, 2009 and 2010), featured several Canadian Football Hall of Famers, including Hal Patterson, Wally Buono and Ben Cahoon, and boasted many dominant teams, particularly during the 1970s and 2000s.

Bob and Andrew Wetenhall owned the team for a 22-year-span that included three Grey Cup championships, 10 first-place finishes and a record of 223 wins against 172 losses and one tie. Eleven Alouettes have been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame during their tenure, including the elder Wetenhall himself, as a builder, in 2015.

Wetenhall had owned the Alouettes since 1997 when he brought the team back from the brink of insolvency. He was responsible for the team’s successful relocation to Percival Molson Stadium and eventually expansion while overseeing the team’s run of dominance from 1999 to 2012.

While the ownership process played out, Montreal enjoyed a resurgent season in 2019 as head coach Khari Jones led the Als to a 10-8 record and earned the franchise’s first post-season spot in four years.

Spiegel and Stern lead the new era for the Alouettes in Montreal.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.