Raise your glass to Mark Cohon

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CFL commish visits U of R and talks about his life, football and beer

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

Canadian Football League commissioner Mark Cohon visited the University of Regina on Sept. 13 as the special guest for the second annual presidents breakfast in the main gym.

Cohon sat down with acclaimed Regina sportswriter Darrell Davis for a candid interview to discuss a wealth of topics, including his past jobs, football and, of course, beer.

Before becoming the CFL commissioner in the spring of 2007, Cohon had already built up an incredibly impressive resume. Cohon’s past job experience includes acting as an executive for MLB as well as the NBA. However, Cohon admitted his career path has not always been so desirable.

“My first job was a zookeeper,” Cohon said. “I also played football in high school and was recruited to play in university, but blew out my knee.”

Dealing with injury is something the Regina Rams are all too familiar with this season, as starting quarterback Marc Mueller is still sidelined with a shoulder injury and it appears as though the Rams’ chances of making it to the Vanier Cup are dwindling.     Although the Rams’ spot at the Vanier Cup is very much uncertain, Cohon’s attendance will be guaranteed thanks to a partnership between the Vanier Cup and the CFL finalized in 2007.

“We hope it has a long future,” Cohon said of the partnership. “I think it’s a great format for us. In the States, when the athletes make it to the professional leagues, they are already known. We have to work hard to profile these young Canadian athletes.”

Numerous members of the Rams and Cougars were in attendance during the breakfast including Mueller, who spoke on behalf of the student athletes. He hopes to one day play in the CFL.

Canadian athletes make up a large portion of CFL teams, as every team must have a minimum of 20 Canadians on their 42-man roster.

“Canadian content is very important in the CFL. If you don’t have Canadians, you won’t win a Grey Cup,” said Cohon, who is the league’s 12th commissioner.

Cohon had the luxury of visiting Regina after the Roughriders won their second-straight game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers just one day earlier.

“The Riders made my job easier today,” joked Cohon.

Of course, as Cohon alluded to, he has always had an appreciation for Saskatchewan and for Regina.

“When I became commissioner, I said one of the places I have to go is Saskatchewan,” Cohon said. “It was one of the first places I came. It’s always good to be back.”

Saskatchewan has apparently made a lasting impression on Cohon because of the people – and because of the alcohol. During his time in Saskatchewan, Cohon grew accustomed to the taste of Pilsner beer and now has it imported to his home in Ontario. If residents of Saskatchewan didn’t have a reason to like Cohon before, they do now.

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