Alouettes’ interim president Mario Cecchini to be named QMJHL commissioner: report

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

Montreal Alouettes’ interim president Mario Cecchini has been appointed as commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, according to a report from Kevin Dubé of Le Journal de Quebec.

Cecchini was appointed via a unanimous owners’ vote last weekend and is expected to be publicly named next week as the successor to Gilles Courteau, who recently resigned after 37 years in the job. The report foreshadows his second departure from the Alouettes in a three-month span.

The executive was hired alongside general manager Danny Maciocia in January 2020 shortly after the team was purchased by S and S Sportsco, a corporate entity owned by steel magnate Sid Spiegel and son-in-law Gary Stern. Spiegel passed away in July 2021 and his 75 ownership stake moved into the control of his estate. The remaining 25 percent remained under the ownership of Stern.

The Alouettes saw 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. However, his contract with the franchise was not renewed in December due to differences of opinion with ownership.

The CFL took over control of the Alouettes on February 14 after Spiegel’s estate stopped providing new funding for the club. Cecchini was brought back as interim president and remains in charge of the day-to-day operations, as well as the search for new ownership.

The league has reportedly entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Quebecor Inc. and billionaire CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau regarding the sale of the team. A passionate CFL advocate, Cecchini’s career move would seem to indicate that he does not anticipate being retained by the new owner.