OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group today announced that Marcel Desjardins has been appointed General Manager of Ottawa’s new Canadian Football League franchise. Desjardins, a 19-year CFL football operations veteran, will be responsible for all facets of team operations in Ottawa, including coaches, scouts and player contracts.
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“I’m delighted that one of the CFL’s most experienced and accomplished football operations leaders has agreed to become the architect of our new team,” said Jeff Hunt, President, OSEG Sports.
“As an Assistant General Manager with the Montreal Alouettes, Marcel played a major role in the design of three Grey Cup winning rosters and he oversaw one of the League’s most effective football operations teams. He has an ideal skill-set that’ll only grow in his new role with us, and I can’t wait to see the fruits of his labour when we kick-off a new era of CFL football in Ottawa in the summer of 2014.”
“I’m honoured and humbled by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a CFL team from the ground up,” said the 46-year-old Desjardins. “Jeff Hunt and the other team owners are committed to reestablishing a winning football tradition in Ottawa and reigniting fan passions, and to be able to contribute to that process is a dream come true.”
Prior to joining the Ottawa franchise, the bilingual Desjardins served 5-seasons as Assistant General Manager under Jim Popp with the Montreal Alouettes, winning Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010. He was responsible for scouting NFL camps, CIS football and some US college bowl games, as well as contract negotiations, salary cap management and day-to-day administration of the team.
Desjardins admitted he's looking forward to finally putting everything he's learned in Montreal into practice in Ottawa.
"It's done right there. (Jim Popp) has done a good job of structuring things," he said.
"Contiunuity means a lot at all levels, I honestly believe that. If you have the right people there, there's no reason to make changes. That's how the approach has to be here."
Popp also expressed his excitement for Desjardins in a statement released by the team.
“On behalf of the Montreal Alouettes, I first want to congratulate Marcel for obtaining the job in Ottawa and second, to thank him for a fantastic job in the way he has serviced the Montreal Alouettes,” said Popp. “Marcel is a real hero in the organization who doesn't get nearly enough thank you's that should go his way.”
Prior to his AGM role with the Al’s, Marcel, a native of Burlington ON., served as General Manager of the Hamilton Tiger Cats from August 2006 through the 2007 season. Prior to that, he served 5 seasons as Montreal’s Assistant General Manager and won a Grey Cup in 2002, and he served 3 previous seasons as the Al’s Assistant Director of Football Operations.
Before joining Montreal, Marcel spent 5 years at CFL headquarters in Toronto where, among other things, he helped transition the football operations department into the database age. He also ensured player contracts adhered to the League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement and was involved in other player personnel matters.
Marcel holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in Sports Administration from Laurentian University in Sudbury, ON. His experience in the sports industry prior to joining the CFL office included tenures with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League and the Canada Games Council.
"It's not about one person, you do it right, do it with the right people and if your thorough with the things you do, you'll have success," he said.