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Former Riders CEO Jim Hopson passes away

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Former Saskatchewan Roughriders President and CEO Jim Hopson, who oversaw a decade of exponential growth that turned the football team into one of the CFL’s premiere franchises, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 73.

Hopson was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in April 2021.

After a four-year playing career with the Riders that saw him suit up with the likes of George Reed and Ron Lancaster from 1973 to 1976, he became the team’s first full-time President and CEO in 2005, a position he held until his retirement in 2015.

During that time, Rider Pride was reaching a fever pitch as the team appeared in four Grey Cup finals in six years, winning in 2007 and once again at home in 2013. The team’s success on the field led to an overwhelming demand for tickets, and Hopson oversaw seating expansions and upgrades to amenities at historic Taylor Field, which was renamed Mosaic Stadium in 2006, and laid the groundwork for the construction of the new Mosaic Stadium that opened in 2017.

“As president, Jim ushered in a new era for our organization that included two Grey Cup Championships, incredible financial success, and perhaps most importantly, a belief in Roughrider football that will never fade away,” Riders President and CEO Craig Reynolds said in a statement. “But more than that, Jim was an optimist, someone who made you feel better by just being around him and a friend to all who knew him. On behalf of Rider Nation, I want to send our condolences to Brenda, Tyler and Carrie, as well as our thanks for everything Jim brought to our team, and our community.”

Hopson was inducted into the Riders’ Plaza of Honour in 2018 and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2019. In February, the club renamed the auditorium where team meetings are held at Mosaic Stadium to the Jim Hopson Auditorium in his honour.

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