Home Canada Broken-down Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall dies; helped transform club into model...

Broken-down Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall dies; helped transform club into model franchise

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Broken-down Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall dies; helped transform club into model franchise

Bob Wetenhall Sr., the American businessman who took over the Montreal Alouettes in 1997 and transformed the club into judicious one of many CFL’s model franchises, has died.

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Broken-down Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall (left), viewed right here on this file photo from June 9, 2003, passed away on Friday. (Ian Barrett/Canadian Press)

Bob Wetenhall Sr., the American businessman who took over the Montreal Alouettes in 1997 and transformed the club into judicious one of many CFL’s model franchises, has died.

Both the Alouettes and CFL confirmed Wetenhall’s passing, which used to be Friday. Neither equipped critical capabilities regarding the reason of death or Wetenhall’s age (he used to be believed to be 85 or 86).

“Bob Wetenhall’s ownership of the Montreal Alouettes used to be a labour of like,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie stated in a assertion. “He cherished the city, his crew and the Canadian Football League they in most cases all cherished him again.

“Bob used to be as charming and generous in private as he used to be a hit and optimistic in public. That combination meant he built deep and lasting friendships across our league on the the same time he built a highly a hit franchise.

“A member of the CFL Board of governors from 1997 to 2013, Bob consistently treated his fellow owners and crew chairs with kindness and respect, and he treated gamers, coaches, staffers, fans and newshounds as within the event that they were fellow owners. Our league is grateful for his many contributions. The people in it are deeply saddened by records of his passing. Our thoughts are with his son Andrew, who followed his father because the Alouettes’ lead governor, and Bob’s total household.”

Wetenhall, a local of Milwaukee, grew to develop into an investment banker after graduating from Princeton. He took over the Alouettes in 1997 after they were revoked from Michael Gelfand and declared financial worry.

Wetenhall also assumed the group’s money owed despite no longer legally being obligated to create so.

Early in Wetenhall’s tenure, the Alouettes were a CFL powerhouse. From 1999 to 2012, they executed atop the East Division 10 instances and developed to the Grey Cup on eight occasions, a hit three.

The Montreal Alouettes are deeply saddened by the passing of feeble owner Bob Wetenhall, who passed away on Friday. He owned the Alouettes from 1997 to 2019, helped by his son Andrew within the excellent years. 👉https://t.co/aQfjrSoEmW pic.twitter.com/39zoRVitVs

@MTLAlouettes

Earlier than owning the Alouettes, Wetenhall also served as portion-owner of the Boston Patriots (AFL) and Recent England Patriots (NFL). In 2011, he got an honorary Doctor of Felony programs stage from McGill College for his work with the Alouettes and growth of Percival Molson Stadium.

Wetenhall used to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Reputation in 2015.

“Bob Wetenhall alongside with David Braley were merely heroes of our league,” tweeted Hamilton owner Bob Younger. “Bob had a joie de vivre that brought optimism and happiness to everyone who knew him.

“I, and the CFL, moral lost a expansive buddy.”

Powerful of Montreal’s on-field success came with Anthony Calvillo as its initiating quarterback. Signed as a free agent in 1998 after being launched by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Calvillo first served as Tracy Ham’s backup in Montreal earlier than taking on the reins two years later.

Calvillo went on to develop into the most prolific quarterback in CFL history, main Montreal to a Grey Cup cope with in 2002, its first in 25 seasons. Two extra championships followed (2009-10) and three instances Calvillo used to be named the league’s most smartly-known participant.

Calvillo suffered a profession-ending concussion in a 24-21 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 17, 2013. When he retired in January 2014, Calvillo left as expert football’s all-time passing leader (79,816 yards) and used to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Reputation three years later.

But whereas Calvillo used to be instrumental in Montreal’s on-field success, crew president Larry Smith used to be a pivotal figure within the again of the scenes. He oversaw the relocation of the Baltimore Stallions to Montreal as CFL commissioner in 1996 earlier than changing into crew president the next 12 months.

Smith, a Montreal native, left to develop into the Montreal Gazette publisher in 2002 however returned to the Alouettes in 2004 and remained by 2010.

Smith, who also used to be an Alouettes running again (1972-81) wasn’t skittish to roll up his sleeves as a crew executive. He made over 200 appearances yearly in some unspecified time in the future of Quebec promoting the Alouettes trace.

It with out a doubt worked as in some unspecified time in the future of their heyday, the Alouettes recorded 105 sellouts at Molson Stadium, which has a seating skill of about 23,500.

Montreal had consistency on its roster with such gamers as Calvillo, slotback Ben Cahoon, offensive lineman Scott Flory (each Canadians) and kicker Damon Duval. The lineup also featured francophone gamers like running backs Eric Lapointe and Bruno Heppell, receiver Eric Deslauriers and security Etienne Boulay, to title just a few.

And Jim Popp used to be also a fixture because the franchise’s GM/football-operations director from 1996-2016.

The Alouettes were also a small bit lucky as in 1997 a U2 dwell performance at Olympic Stadium compelled them to seek at McGill as a likely venue. Peril used to be, Molson Stadium wasn’t precisely in pristine situation and even had a tree rising within the stands.

However, the switch to downtown Montreal into a cozier, fan-friendly venue indubitably saved the franchise because the Alouettes were averaging lower than 10,000 fans on the Substantial O.

But Montreal’s excellent Grey Cup cope with in some unspecified time in the future of Wetenhall’s ownership used to be in 2010. The Alouettes missed the CFL playoffs the excellent four 12 months of his tenure, amassing a 21-51 total epic over that span.

On Could 31, 2019, Wetenhall sold the Alouettes to the CFL. In January, 2020 the league introduced Toronto businessmen Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern had bought the franchise.

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Broken-down Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall dies; helped transform club into model franchise