There are currently four men seeking election as the new president of the Canadian Football League Players’ Association.
One current and three former players are on the ballot, including Saskatchewan Roughriders’ linebacker Solomon Elimimian, longtime Stampeders’ strong-side linebacker Keon Raymond, and Canadians Agustin Barrenechea and Peter Dyakowski.
All of the candidates had lengthy playing careers in the CFL. Elimimian is the only strictly defensive player to win Most Outstanding Player, while Raymond won two Grey Cups as a key member of the Calgary Stampeders (2008 and 2014). Barrenechea was a stud Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ linebacker and Peter Dyakowski suited up for 10 seasons along the offensive line, nine in the Hammer and one on the prairies in Regina.
Elimimian and Dyakowski were on the executive staff while Jeff Keeping was president, the former as second vice president and the latter as treasurer. Both were present for the last collective bargaining agreement negotiations. It was a three-year deal struck in May 2019, which expires the day before training camps begin in 2022.
The players’ union was established in 1965 and it has seen 10 presidents to date: Gary Schreider; Mike Wadsworth; Greg Findlay; George Reed; Ed Chalupka; Dan Ferrone; Stu Laird; Mike Morreale; Scott Flory and Keeping. Reed is the only American president in the union’s history. He held the president title in two separate stints, 1972-1981 and 1986-1993.
Board of directors and executive members are voted on by team player representatives during elections held every two years. Team reps are voted on at the beginning of each season prior to the second regularly-scheduled game of the schedule. The vote must be conducted by a player representative whose term is about to expire or by another individual as designated by the president of the CFLPA.
The choice is an important one for the players as the union sets the leadership and direction for the future of its membership. The CFLPA’s objective is establishing fair and reasonable working conditions for the players. Much of what players take for granted today has been earned through hard-fought negotiations with the CFL.
During the CFLPA’s annual general meetings, being held in Las Vegas from February 27 to March 1, the new president will be elected.