That’s the attitude Randy Ambrosie introduced to the CFL when he took over as Commissioner last June.
Even though he hasn’t been on the job for a full year yet, Ambrosie has already left his mark on the CFL – and in a decidedly good way.
Ambrosie has been highly visible over the past year, travelling across the country to promote the CFL and engage with fans – and not just during the season.
This year marked the inaugural Randy’s Road Trip, where Ambrosie visited each CFL city to hold a town hall with die hard fans. In a quest to make the CFL a truly coast-to-coast league, Ambrosie even ventured out to Halifax, fanning hopes that the Atlantic Schooners – or some such team – might one day be a reality.
What Ambrosie has accomplished in a mere 10 months is rather stunning when compared to the tenures of previous commissioners. (See: Orridge, Jeffrey.) He kept the CFL in the sports pages for most of the past off-season, by introducing new initiatives such as Randy’s Road Trip and holding CFL meetings in January in Banff. The release of the 2018 schedule in December 2017 was a surprise Christmas gift to CFL fans, allowing them to dream of summer nights full of football even when it was -40 outside. Of course, this does not mean that everything went smoothly.
While the NFL window disappeared with the last CBA, apparently some teams have made side deals with players to allow them to be released midway through their first CFL contract to pursue NFL opportunities. Ambrosie issued a strong statement to reiterate that this practice is offside the CBA. But then the league had to issue a mea culpa when it came to light that it registered a contract that allowed just that. This will no doubt be an issue in the coming year since the current CBA expires in May 2019.
Then there was the Johnny Manziel circus. (DEAR LORD, MAKE IT STOP.) After Ambrosie set down the rules for Manziel to even sign a contract for the 2018 season, CFL pundits engaged in what might be the most annoying game of “Will he or won’t he?” the CFL has ever seen. The constant speculation even got on the nerves on CFL veterans:
AMEN, GREG. A-FREAKING-MEN.
But if there is a CFL Commissioner who can handle the Manziel show, it is Ambrosie. Upon Manziel’s signing with the Tiger-Cats earlier today, he released a statement making it clear that Manziel’s time in the CFL is conditional. The conditions have not been made public, but I have faith that Ambrosie will have no qualms about putting Manziel in his place if need be.
With the plethora of player movement this past off season, the 2018 CFL season is setting up to be possibly one of the most competitive seasons in CFL history. This, along with the stabilization of the league’s head office, has put the ball in Ambrosie’s hands. It’s up to him to take the CFL to the next level.