CFL, CFLPA mentorship program provides exposure to league’s business operations, prepares players for life after football

Courtesy: CFLPA

Six players have been selected as the first cohort in the CFL player mentorship program.

The joint initiative between the league and Players’ Association will provide current players and alumni with exposure to the business side of league operations.

Established in 2016, the CFLPA Academy is a resource provided to all active and recently retired members, as well as their families, to assist in career and personal development outside of professional football.

“This program provides a significant sports business development opportunity for CFLPA members within professional sports. It will expand career options for our membership and encourage today’s players to impact tomorrow’s game,” CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian said.

The CFL player mentorship program delivers the Academy’s mandate through the league office and underscores the league’s commitment to its players, while also meaningfully promoting diversity at the league office and supporting the drive to create a more inclusive working environment.

The six players will have the opportunity to build a greater understanding of the business priorities of the CFL, while positively influencing and supporting the league’s objectives through fresh and creative perspectives.

“As players, you are so focused on capturing the Grey Cup and bringing joy and pride to your city and fans, but there is also life beyond the field to consider,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said. “Our players give their all to our great game, and we must do better to support them, whether in the offseason or once their playing days have come to an end.”

“The player mentorship program is an investment in our players’ futures and also in the future of our communities. It’s our promise to help set up our players and alumni for success away from the field, while building a stronger league and country together.”

The program consists of educational sessions, experiences and mentorship with senior subject matter experts from the league office and its member clubs, to learn about various career streams associated with the business operations of professional football, including football operations, marketing and communications, finance, data insights and broadcast.

“Collaborating with the CFL on this initiative provides our members access to a profession that they have spent years working in. Similar to all of the programs within our Academy, our membership has been clear in their desire to continue contributing to the game they love when their playing days are over,” Brian Ramsay, executive director of the CFLPA, said.

“The CFLPA Academy and its partners have provided over 1,700 opportunities for members and alumni to refine and enhance a wide range of skills that will help ensure their success away from the playing field.”

Players and alumni will learn about the work performed by various departments and will build skills to transition into career paths within football, the sporting community or other business environments.

CFL player mentorship program — 2022 cohort

Jean-Philippe Bolduc
Stefan Charles
Brett Lauther
Hugh O’Neill
Brian Simmons
Kenny Stafford

The first iteration of the CFL player mentorship program is slated to take place in concert with the CFL Ontario regional combine in March 2022. The mentees will fly to Toronto for an intensive week of job shadowing, presentations and networking. Following the program, the participants will be paired with an individual mentor for ongoing advice and support to refine their future career paths. This will foster additional learning opportunities to enhance their understanding of business.