Esks president has cancer

Eskimos president Rick LeLacheur. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI Agency)

Eskimos president Rick LeLacheur. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:38 PM ET

With all the turmoil surrounding his football team, Rick LeLacheur didn’t have a lot of time to worry about his health concerns.

That may not have been an entirely bad thing.

“I thought more about that (football team) then I did about my medical situation,” said LeLacheur, who announced on Friday he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer this summer. “But, I’m quite comfortable with what the doctors tell me and we’ll get it on and get it fixed.”

As though he didn’t have enough to deal with at the time, LeLacheur was informed of the diagnosis a day before firing general manager Danny Maciocia.

The Eskimos had gotten off to a 1-6 start prompting the change that eventually led to the hiring of Eric Tillman.

“It wasn’t a good month in July,” LeLacheur said. “I found out the day before I let Danny go. But the doctors said I was fine to get through the Grey Cup and that we would do surgery after it.

“It’s a good thing they detected early and I’m very confident we’ll get it all and move on.”

LeLacheur is scheduled to have his surgery in a couple of weeks, following next week’s CFL meetings.

“It’s going to be done by the new da Vinci machine here at the Royal Alex,” LeLacheur said. “So it’s not an invasive surgery like it used to be.

“It’s more like hand controls. I actually saw the machine when we opened the Pam Monastyrskyj room at the Lois Hole hospital. So it’s been a busy year, I haven’t had a lot of time to think about it. But the doctor was quite satisfied to wait until after Grey Cup was over.”

LeLacheur will take time over Christmas and into the New Year to recuperate.

He doesn’t have any intentions of stepping down from his position with the Eskimos and expects to remain with the team through the remainder of his contract, which expires in 2012.

On Friday, along with giving members of the local media a tour of the renovations taking place at Commonwealth Stadium, LeLacheur announced Duane Vienneau has been added to the Eskimos management team. Vienneau served as executive director of the 2010 Grey Cup Festival.

The team is also still in the process of hiring a new head coach to replace Richie Hall, who was let go at the end of the year.

“Eric’s interviews are going well,” LeLacheur said. “I’d like to have something decided before my surgery but we’ll see. That will be up to Eric.

“I think he’s had a list (of candidates) for some time and I think he’s brought that down a bit. Our interest is in getting a head coach in place as quickly as possible, then having him go out and get his own coaching staff.

“We know now there is a vacancy in Saskatchewan and there are some changes in Hamilton, so everybody is out looking for coordinators or assistant coaches. So the sooner you can have your head coach in place, the more opportunities you have of getting the assistant coaches.”

The Eskimos current set of assistant coaches are all under contract until the end of January.

“They have all been told that with the new head coach, he’s going to pick the assistants that he wants,” LeLacheur said. “He’ll sit down and talk to the assistants that were here last year if there is any interest, then we’ll see.”

LeLacheur also said the team has given notice they want to pick up the option year for quarterback Ricky Ray.

“He’ll be under contract for us in 2011 and then be set to be a free agent in February of 2012, if we don’t do a new contract,” he said. “But there is still plenty of time to do a contract with somebody in their option year.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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