After nearly half a century with Edmonton’s Canadian Football League team, the club’s equipment manager confirmed Tuesday that he has been permanently let go.
On Tuesday, Dwayne Mandrusiak, whose 11 Grey Cup rings are more than anyone else has accumulated in CFL history, confirmed his departure.
Mandrusiak, who was temporarily laid off in May because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said he was disappointed to see his time with the green and gold come to an end and was looking forward to a 50th season with the club.
Mandrusiak spent most of his years with the football club as its equipment manager. He was part of the Edmonton team that won five-straight Grey Cup championships in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also earned a reputation for community-mindedness, helping out with minor and high school football teams’ equipment.
When asked for comment, the EE Football Team told Global News it is “unable to comment on the specific employment status of current or former employees as this is personal, private and confidential information.”
However, the organization said the COVID-19 pandemic “has taken a toll on many businesses and ours is no exception.”
“With the cancellation of our 2020 season, we have had to make and continue to have to make tough choices,” the statement said. “This, unfortunately, has included ongoing staffing reductions.
“We do not take these choices lightly and continue to strive to make decisions to ensure the ongoing viability of the team.”
Longtime friend and former special teams coach with the Edmonton football team, Brian Dickinson, said the pair went to high school together. Dickinson remembers when Mandrusiak was first hired on to work with the team part-time.
“I’ve known Dwayne ever since,” Dickinson said Wednesday. “He’s very well respected, certainly in the whole league and certainly in Edmonton. All the players he looked after over the years, I talked to a few of them last night, and they always remembered how great Dwayne was.
“He did an excellent job with a community-owned club. Sometimes his budgets were tight but he made it work for the players. The first thing he wanted to make sure was the players were treated with the best equipment he could get.”
Dickinson said he spoke with Mandrusiak on Tuesday evening.
“He was disappointed, hurt. You’re bound to be.”
Dickinson said he doesn’t know the circumstances under which Mandrusiak was let go, but added he understands when a company wants to make a change.
“That’s a prerogative and I don’t have any disrespect for that. I just hope that they compensate him well for his dedicated years of service, that’s all I want to see, and I hope they did that.”
READ MORE: CFL 2020 season officially cancelled
Last month, the CFL announced it was cancelling its season because of the ongoing pandemic, meaning it would not have a Grey Cup winner for the first time in over 100 years.
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–With files from Global Sports’ Kevin Karius