March 27, 2019 3:40 pm

Former Habs defenceman Serge Savard not in running to own Montreal Alouettes

Former Montreal Canadiens' hockey great Serge Savard will not be buying the Alouettes club.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Scratch Serge Savard’s name from the list of potential new owners of the Montreal Alouettes.

The eight-time Stanley Cup-winning defenceman with the Montreal Canadiens said Wednesday he’s not involved in any group looking to purchase the CFL franchise. The Alouettes haven’t officially been put up for sale, but two groups reportedly are interested in buying the club.

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However, Savard — who was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986 — was quick to point out he’s not involved in either one, even though his name his name has been mentioned in CFL circles.

“I am not,” the 73-year-old said during a telephone interview. “I was part of a group a long time ago, when Larry Smith was involved (with the Alouettes).”

“I had told Larry at the time I had people interested. But there was no rush, just in case the owner decided to sell (that) we’d be very interested in forming a group to buy them out. However, they never said anything about selling and that’s a long, long, time ago.”

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Smith, 67, twice served as Alouettes president. After overseeing the relocation of the franchise from Baltimore after the 1996 season as CFL commissioner, Smith became Montreal’s president in 1997 and held that post until 2001.

Smith went on to become president and publisher of the Montreal Gazette from 2002 to 2004 before returning to the Alouettes. He remained until 2010, the last time the franchise captured the Grey Cup.

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Smith, a former Montreal running back from 1972-80, is currently a Conservative senator.

Eric Lapointe, also a former Alouettes running back and two-time Hec Crighton Trophy winner as Canada’s top university football player, has said on numerous occasions he could quickly put together a group of investors to purchase the Alouettes. On Sunday, there was talk at the CFL combine in Toronto the league could assume operation of the Alouettes while it looked to find a new owner for the franchise.

When contacted Sunday, Lapointe, a 44-year-old Montreal native, said he’d not heard from either the league or the Alouettes. He didn’t immediately respond to a message Wednesday.

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Lapointe, who was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012, is now a managing director with Stonegate Private Counsel in Montreal. His offices assist high net-worth entrepreneurs with sustaining, growing and transitioning their wealth.

Robert Wetenhall has owned the Alouettes for more than 20 years. He resurrected the franchise in 1997 after it was revoked from Michael Gelfand and declared bankrupt. Wetenhall also assumed the organization’s debts despite not legally being obligated to do so.

Early in Wetenhall’s tenure, the Alouettes were a CFL powerhouse. From 1999 to 2012, the Alouettes finished atop the East Division nine times and advanced to the Grey Cup on eight occasions, winning three.

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But Montreal hasn’t been to the Grey Cup since winning it in 2010 and has posted a record of .500 or better in just three seasons since. The Alouettes haven’t reached the playoffs since 2014, and have amassed a dismal 21-51 record over that span.

Wetenhall was a former part-owner of the Boston Patriots (AFL) and New England Patriots (NFL). In 2011, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from McGill University for his work with the Alouettes and expansion of Percival Molson Stadium.

Wetenhall was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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