Two Ontario businessmen are the new co-owners of the Montreal Alouettes - CTV News

Two Ontario businessmen are the new co-owners of the Montreal Alouettes - CTV News
MONTREAL -- The lengthy Montreal Alouettes ownership saga that ended abruptly on Monday began with a conversation at a Grey Cup party in late November.

At a small gathering hosted by new owner Gary Stern in his basement, one of the guests -- Dale Lastman, governor of the Toronto Argonauts and the new chair of the CFL s board of governors -- casually mentioned the Alouettes ownership situation.

Stern recounted that both he and his father-in-law Sid Spiegel weren t aware but very interested, setting talks in motion with the league.

Fast forward less than a month and the CFL announced Monday that businessmen Spiegel and Stern of Toronto-based Crawford Steel are the franchise s new owners, ending the league s management of the Alouettes that began last May when American Bob Wetenhall sold the club to the league.

The announcement ended months of speculation regarding the Alouettes ownership situation that included reports of various potential interested groups and individuals.

"Dale and Gary have been lifetime friends," said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. "It was an introduction that was made because of a conversation at a Grey Cup party which has some great irony to it."

Ambrosie had no idea who the pair were, but was immediately impressed with Stern and Speigel when he showed up at their office.

"We did a transaction in about three-and-a-half weeks from start to finish," Ambrosie said.

Ambrosie said the Alouettes situation was challenging given the club s state of affairs. Between seven and 10 groups expressed interest in owning the club and tried to secure investors, sometimes by trying to work with each other.

But Spiegel and Stern emerged from the pack because they didn t need to rely on other groups.

"Sid and Gary had been working together for 40 years, they didn t have to figure out how they were going to do this together, that part for them was easy," Ambrosie said.

That allowed the new owners to focus on understanding the business and how they could grow it in Montreal.

Spiegel is the founder and chairman of the board of Crawford Steel while Stern is the company s chief executive officer. Their previous investments in Quebec include steel plants in Longueuil and Rouyn-Noranda and real estate holdings.
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