Former Alouettes’ president Mario Cecchini confirms departure from club with thank you to fans, Danny Maciocia

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

Former Montreal Alouettes’ team president Mario Cecchini has confirmed his departure from the club in a series of tweets Thursday morning, thanking fans for their support and giving general manager Danny Maciocia a special shout-out.

“To Als fans, you know by now that the estate who owns the Als told me Monday that my contract was not renewed. It is their prerogative and I have to respect that. Thank you to all the players, employees, sponsors and especially the fans. We had fun every time we chatted in the stands and on the field. A special thank you to [Danny Maciocia], the hardest working man I know, and to my family who was instrumental in me doing this, I love you.”

News of that the Alouettes’ current majority ownership group, the estate of the late Sid Spiegel, would not retain Cecchini following the expiration of his contract at the end of this month was first reported Tuesday. The long-time Quebec media executive has served as the team’s president since January 2020, being hired in conjunction with Maciocia after the team was purchased by S and S Sportsco, a corporate entity owned by the since-deceased Spiegel and son-in-law Gary Stern.

The Alouettes have seen increased ticket sales under Cecchini’s watch and, according to published data, are one of only three teams to achieve an increase in attendance from 2019 to 2022 alongside B.C. and Winnipeg. Attendance league-wide has decreased by 5.2 percent over that time span. The team’s corporate sponsorships have also increased according to a report by Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette.

Spiegel passed away in July 2021 and his 75 ownership stake moved into the control of his estate. The remaining 25 percent remains under the ownership of Stern. It is unclear why ownership felt that Cecchini was expendable.

Speaking to Mario Langlois of 98.5 Sports last month in French, Maciocia described a possible change in the president as personally upsetting.

“I’m going to feel hurt if he’s not back. We make a whole team. It’s a whole leader who listens. He listens to understand. Everything we built in the last three years, he was always by my side. He encouraged me. He’s someone I have a lot of respect for,” Maciocia said.

“If ever… I don’t even want to think about it. If ever Mario isn’t around, it’s gonna hit and it’s gonna hit pretty hard. We have many more beautiful chapters to write.”

TSN’s Dave Naylor has reported that the search for a new president is not yet underway, but that Maciocia will have a say in the decision.