Born and raised in Burlington, Marcel Desjardins attended French language
schools Ecole St. Philippe in Budington and Ecole secondaire Georges p. Vanier
in Hamilton. He ultimately became a four-time CFL Grey Cup champion but his
path to professional football was anything but direct.
After high school the fully bilingual Desjardins earned an Honours Bachelor of
Commerce degree with a specialization in sports administration (SPAD) at
Laurentian University in Sudbury. He gained sports industry experience with the
Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League and the Canada Games Council,
before being hired by the CFL. He worked in the football operations and
communications departments for five years.
His business acumen caught the attention of the Montreal Alouettes and he was
hired in 1999 as the assistant director of football operations. He was promoted to
assistant GM and was a member of the Grey Cup winning team in 20O2. He
moved to Hamilton to become the GM of the Tiger Cats for one year before
returning to Montreal and winning two additional Cups in 2009 and 2010.
He remained in Montreal until 2012 when an opportunity arose for him to make
history, with the rebirth of a team in Ottawa. What an exciting process! As
General Manager it didn't take long for Marcel to create a competitive team. ln
their inaugural season the team went 2-16 and in the second year improved to
12-6, the season was topped off by an appearance in the 2015 Grey Cup. ln their
third year of existence, 2016, the Redblacks brought the city of Ottawa their first
Grey Cup victory in almost 40 years. lt was Marcel's fourth Grey Cup and his first
as General Manager and primary architect of a team. The success of the team
can be attributed to Desjardins' understanding of the importance of the depth of
Canadian content, and his connections throughout USports football and his
career in the CFL.
Marcel's responsibilities included providing the best resources for the players,
coaches, and staff, but he also oversaw all scouting, recruiting, and drafting
functions while integrating the Redblacks with all departments of the Ottawa
Sports and Entertainment Group.
A true lifer who worked his way through a career in sports administration to
become a 4-time CFL Grey Cup champion. The Burlington Sports Hall of Fame is
proud to induct Marcel Desjardins to the class of 2O22 in the builder category.