The CFL may be looking to the NHL for its next commissioner.
John Shannon, the NHL's senior vice-president for broadcasting, will meet next week with the headhunting firm Korn Ferry International after being contacted by league representatives last week.
Shannon, who was instrumental in founding the Canadian Football Network in the late 1980s and is well known in CFL circles, refused to comment yesterday whether he is seriously interested in the commissioner's job.
The league has a four-man search committee working with Korn Ferry to find a replacement for Tom Wright, who was forced out after being unable to secure the support of key league governors like Montreal's Bob Wetenhall and B.C.'s David Braley.
While known primarily as a hockey television executive, Shannon has a variety of credentials that suggest he could be an excellent choice for the CFL.
Born in B.C. and a lifelong CFL enthusiast, he now lives in Mississauga and has superb contacts throughout the country and the United States. The CFL is looking to secure a new television contract, and is expanding its U.S. and international TV presence.
Shannon has also worked in multiple Olympic Games for U.S. television networks. He left a senior broadcasting position with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment last year to work in the NHL head offices.
He is well-connected to TSN, which is very influential as the CFL's key broadcasting partner, and is also close with Toronto Argonaut president Keith Pelley, a former TV executive.
Eric Tillman, now the general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, wrote an on-line column during the summer while working for Sportsnet.ca suggesting Shannon would be an ideal choice for CFL commissioner.
Gene Dunn, the chairman of the CFL's board of governors, said on Friday the league has a "large number of highly competent individuals who would like to be commissioner of the CFL."
Dunn will serve as interim league commissioner after Jan. 1, 2007, until a full-time replacement for Wright is hired.