Sources: Prince wants to be CFL commissioner

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon shows off the logos of the various CFL teams that he had sewn to the inside of his jacket prior to addressing the media during the State of the League address. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

TORONTO — Skip Prince has thrown his hat into the ring to be the next CFL commissioner.

The Canadian Press has learned the former Montreal Alouettes executive has expressed an interest in the CFL’s top job. Two league sources said Thursday that Prince has contacted the search committee mandated with finding commissioner Mark Cohon’s successor.

CFL spokesman Jamie Dykstra wouldn’t confirm either Prince’s interest or Tom Anselmi’s candidacy for the commissioner’s job. There have been reports that Anselmi, the former Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment boss, has been approached about the position.

"Jim Lawson, the chairman of the CFL board of governors, has stated on the record that we have excellent candidates and the search for the next commissioner is going well," Dykstra said in an email. "Out of respect for the process, the selection committee has agreed to not comment on who those candidates may or may not be."

Cohon’s final day as commissioner is Jan. 9, with Lawson scheduled to take over on an interim basis until a replacement is hired. Lawson also heads up the search committee and said last month during Grey Cup week in Vancouver he was hopeful Cohon’s successor would be in place by April.

In August, Cohon announced he wouldn’t seek a contract extension to remain on the job after his current deal ended in April 2015. The 48-year-old Chicago native succeeded Tom Wright as CFL commissioner in 2007 and signed a three-year contract extension in 2012.

Prince, 61, a native of Richmond, Va., served as Montreal’s president and chief executive officer from 2002-03. The Alouettes won the Grey Cup in ’02, ending a 25-year drought.

Prince was on the league’s search committee that hired Wright to replace Michael Lysko, who was fired as commissioner by the board of governors in 2002. After leaving the CFL, Prince served as an adviser to the league before starting his own consulting firm in 2004.

Prince is currently the principal of The Prince Companies, which provides consulting services in the sports and entertainment industries. But the former CFL executive has an impressive sports resume.

Most recently, Prince served as the senior associate director of athletics at the University of Texas. His responsibilities included developing the marketing, strategic development and branding initiatives for the Division 1 school.

Prince arrived at Texas following six years as the president and commissioner of the United States Hockey League.

Prior to joining the Alouettes, Prince spent nine years as a vice-president with the NHL (1991-2000), looking after its television coverage and business operations. He was also a vice-president for the parent company of the L.A. Kings.

Prince also helped develop and syndicate the Arena Football League in 1986, serving as its head of business and legal affairs before a stint as interim commissioner.

Prince attended Yale, where he played football and basketball before graduating in ’74. He’s also a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.