On the surface, the commissioner of the Canadian Football League chatting to those involved in the field of agriculture might seem like an odd pairing.
However, when Randy Ambrosie spoke Tuesday at Cavalier Agrow’s annual agPROVE forum in Meota, it was a fit that made a lot of sense.
“The main topic that I talked about was change, and there’s so many parallels between both industries,” Ambrosie said. “You don’t have to look hard to find a way of life right now that isn’t being affected by a change of some sort.
“The game of football and the experience for fans is changing rapidly, and a number of changes are happening in the world of agriculture right now. It’s nice to be able to speak to an audience that can relate to what’s happening because it’s a topic we are all to familiar with.”
In addition to discussions about what’s ahead for the next farming season, the agPROVE forum has traditionally welcomed a guest speaker from the world of sports to wrap up the day.
“We try to pick out a theme each year,” Cavalier Agrow location manager Greg Frey said. “With a lot of positive changes in the CFL this past season, especially since Randy came on board, so we invited him to come here and highlight that as it really speaks to what we talk about here in Meota at our form.
“Our guest speaker kind of ebbs and flows, but we tend to have someone from the CFL come up to our meetings, whether it’s a former player like Gizmo Williams or Saskatchewan Roughriders announcer Rod Pedersen. It’s a league that we are all pretty gung-ho about.”
Ambrosie, who was an offensive guard in the CFL from 1985 to 1993 and was named the commissioner in July, also took questions from the audience following his speech.
The topics discussed ranged from the possible expansion of the league to Halifax, the schedule moving up to an earlier start date and more Canadian quarterbacks like Roughriders pivot Brandon Bridge joining the CFL.
“The possible changes to the schedule and the rule switch we made in our regards to the challenge system midway through this year come up a lot when I speak to people, but there’s so many other new topics that come up as well, so the discussions I have can end up all over the place,” Ambrosie said.
“Everywhere you go, people love to talk about the CFL, and they do so with a handshake and a smile. During the Grey Cup week, I got to spend some time with Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, and I told him at the end of the day I probably have a better job than he does, and I honestly believe that.”
The level of excitement that the 54 year old from Winnipeg has for his position was something else that he brought up during his speech, especially as he prepares for the winter months.
“I said to the league governors, there’s no longer an off-season, it’s a business season and a football season,” Ambrosie said.
“We have a lot of things to do in order to get ready for the 2018 campaign, and I’m enjoying it so much that I’m ready to jump in with both feet and have some fun this winter.”