Official: QMJHL hires Alouettes’ interim president Mario Cecchini as new commissioner

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

Montreal Alouettes’ interim president Mario Cecchini has officially been named the new commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He is

“Following an exhaustive executive search, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League board of members is very pleased to confirm the hiring of Mario Cecchini as commissioner,” said board president Richard Létourneau in a statement.

“Mr. Cecchini is a very accomplished businessman with vast amounts of experience in sports and media. He has been the president of several reputable organizations. He will undoubtedly be an important asset for the league going forward and we are extremely pleased to welcome him.”

Cecchini is currently involved with the impending sale of the Montreal Alouettes and officially begin his tenure with the QMJHL on May 8. Until then, Martin Lavallée will continue in his role as acting commissioner.

“I am looking forward to the start of my mandate and I am excited to join the team. I would like to thank the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League board of members for their confidence,” said Cecchini.

“The QMJHL represents more than 50 years of elite player development, including some of the biggest stars in the history of the National Hockey League. But above all, it is an incredible school of life that offers players all the tools they need to develop in sports, academics and as individuals. Several excellent programs have been put in place. In the coming years, we will have the opportunity with the resources in place to see how we can improve and better communicate them.”

Cecchini was hired by the Alouettes 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 August 2021 and the CFL recently took control of the Alouettes on February 14 after his estate stopped providing new funding for the club.

The league brought Cecchini back as the club’s interim president, though he is now set to depart the club for the second time in a relatively short timespan. The Alouettes saw increased ticket sales under Cecchini’s watch and, according to published data, were one of only three CFL teams to achieve an increase in attendance from 2019 to 2022 alongside B.C. and Winnipeg.

The league is reportedly in exclusive negotiations with Quebecor Inc. and billionaire CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau regarding the sale of the team.

The QMJHL was founded in 1969 and features 18 teams located in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The league’s most notable alumni include Sydney Crosby, Guy Lafleur, Mario Lemiuex, Patrick Roy, and Martin Brodeur.