It was the best of times, (Ed Hervey as Esks GM went from 4-14 in 2013 to 14-4 and Grey Cup Champions in 2015), it was the worst of times, (an overall record as GM of 40-32 resulting in Hervey being sacked for ‘philosophical differences’ this April). Whether we are in the age of wisdom, the age of foolishness, the epoch of belief or the epoch of incredulity as Dickens would have had it, remains open to interpretation at this point.
Eskimos president Len Rhodes is quoted as saying he fired general manager Ed Hervey over a clash of philosophies and a stalled contract negotiation. Having Hervey in the last year of a contract and not able to agree terms could, arguably, create a lame duck GM position which the Esks would not have wanted. Perhaps more interesting though is the citing of ‘philosophical differences’. “As far as our philosophical differences, they were primarily related to stakeholder access to our club,” is how Rhodes put it.
Hervey, after taking over in 2012, closed the Eskimos locker room to the media and insisted on interviews being given in another room or on the field. Starting out, he wanted to limit distractions, which may be understandable and was an approach which had some success. Team president Rhodes however felt that was limiting to the ‘Eskimos brand’. There doesn’t seem to be much detail on what will be done to promote that brand post Hervey.
Eskimos fans were left to wonder just what was driving this sudden split . A litany of complaints about the team mismanagement of social media, fan experience, game replay management etc. can be found online – none of which relates to the building of a team, which in Hervey’s time won a Grey Cup and has been in the playoffs three out of four years.
So, we are left to wonder, as they approach training camp where will Edmonton go from here? Jason Maas, after his 10-8 first season remains as coach and currently the executive director of player personnel Paul Jones will act as interim GM, but you have to wonder what this will do for team cohesion going into the new season.
Hervey has proved he can build a team from the bottom up into a competitor – he will probably find a similar role elsewhere, but what will Rhodes and the Esks want to do now? He, we can only suppose, will be looking for a GM that will not only win but that will be very media friendly – it will be interesting to see what unfolds.
Photo copyright: Sportsnet.