City of Champions Means So Much More
By Len Rhodes
Before I moved to Edmonton to accept the job presented to me by Conroy Ross Partners search firm, as President & CEO of the Edmonton Eskimos, my only real exposure to the city and people came during brief business trips. I had heard about the really big mall, the river valley, the winters and of course, the remarkable success of the Eskimos and Oilers. Both dominated their respective sports and their achievements pushed Edmonton to the top tier on the national stages.
I was born in Schefferville, Quebec, but grew up in a working class neighborhood in Montreal. My father was a chef, who at one time worked at the Banff Springs Hotel. We used to watch CFL games together. Dad cheering for his beloved Eskimos, and me rooting for the Montreal Alouettes.
In the few short months that I’ve been in Edmonton, I haven’t had much time to explore yet, but I’ve met countless people from all walks of life and quickly learned a few things about the people and this community. They love their Eskimos and have very high expectations of us - and we wouldn’t want it any other way. What also shines through is a tremendous sense of community spirit and charity. In late February, I was at a fundraising fashion show for the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society with former Eskimo legend Gizmo Williams and the equally legendary Joey Moss both doing their part to help make this a better place for all. At the recent Mac & Cheese Luncheon in support of Edmonton’s Inner City Foundations, Eskimo Head Coach Kavis Reed inspired the audience with his message that in sports and in life, a true champion is measured by their willingness to help others succeed.
I now understand that the slogan, ‘City of Champions’, means so much more than the success of our sports teams. It’s the standard by which Edmonton judges itself and how it looks after its own. I’m very proud to now call Edmonton my home and when friends back East ask me about my transition to the Alberta capital, I always say “cold weather; very warm people”.
Born in Schefferville, Quebec Len Rhodes graduated from Concordia University with a B.Comm. in marketing. In 2011, Len Rhodes was appointed as President and CEO of the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club. Len brings executive experience from the Sporting and Consumer Goods sectors where he held management roles at Reebok-CCM Hockey, Molson Coors Brewing Company and Heinz.