TORONTO -- Now that the Toronto Argonauts are officially in the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment fold, the organization is making some leadership changes at the top of the CFL franchise.
Bill Manning, who serves as Toronto FC president, will add Argonauts president to his job title, MLSE said Friday. Michael Copeland, who spent two years as Argonauts president and CEO, was tabbed to join the MLSE leadership team along with Sara Moore, the Argonauts' senior vice-president of business operations.
MLSE, which also owns the NHL's Maple Leafs, NBA's Raptors, AHL's Marlies and MLS club Toronto FC, announced last month that it had an agreement in place to buy the Grey Cup champions. The front-office changes were announced Friday after the CFL's board of governors recent approval of the MLSE acquisition.
"The Toronto Argonauts are an important and historic part of the sporting landscape in Toronto and across the country, and we appreciate the support of the CFL board of governors as the team officially becomes part of the MLSE family," MLSE president and CEO Michael Friisdahl said in a release. "As we begin the process of incorporating the Argos into the organization, we are very pleased to name Bill Manning as president of the club in addition to his current responsibilities as president of Toronto FC.
"Bill's vast experience and championship vision as a sports executive will continue to be a great asset for Toronto FC, and now, the Argos. We look forward to Michael Copeland and Sara Moore joining the MLSE leadership team, and as a first order of business, playing an important role in the transition of the Argos to MLSE."
There was no immediate word on what the new job titles might be for Copeland and Moore. Phone and email messages left with both were not immediately returned.
"We are all excited about the opportunity to build on the success the Argos enjoyed last season as the team joins MLSE," said Manning. "Obviously, after championship seasons for both clubs, we have extremely talented team operations in place that I look forward to working closely with to ensure we will continue to bring championships to Toronto and our fans.
"One of my guiding priorities will be to ensure the distinct cultures of both teams are honoured for both the club and their fans, and having the Argos part of our organization, and under the same leadership, will make that possible."
In the release, MLSE said the process of incorporating the team into the company's business operations would continue over the coming months.
The Argonauts play at MLSE-operated BMO Field. The lakefront stadium is also home to Toronto FC, which won its first Major League Soccer championship last year.
"We are proud to officially welcome MLSE to the CFL and look forward to working with Bill Manning and the entire organization to enhance the experience for fans in Toronto, but also CFL fans right across the country," said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
Founded in 1873, the Argonauts are North America's oldest continuously operated professional football club.