Skip to main content

Jim Hopson, former Sask. Roughriders president and CEO has died

Share

Jim Hopson, the former president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders has died, his family confirmed Wednesday morning.

According to Hopson’s family he died surrounded by family and friends on Tuesday, April 2.

Hopson was first diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in April of 2021 and announced in January 2024 that he was no longer undergoing treatment. 

Born in Regina in 1951, Hopson played high school football for Thom Collegiate. After graduating he moved on to the Regina Rams junior football team and eventually the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he was an offensive lineman for four seasons from 1973 to 1976, playing alongside the likes of Ron Lancaster and George Reed.

Hopson announced his retirement as a player following the 1976 Grey Cup game. He then became a full time teacher and eventually a principal and director of education for what is now the Prairie Valley School Division, spending more than 30 years in the education sector.

Hopson obtained his Education Degree from the University of Regina while playing for the Rams junior football team and Riders. He also obtained a Masters Degree from the University of Oregon.

Hopson was named the Riders’ first full time president and CEO in 2005, a role he held until he announced his retirement in 2015.

Under Hopson’s guidance the Riders won Grey Cup championships in 2007 and at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field in 2013. The team also appeared in Grey Cup finals in 2009 and 2010.

The Riders had a record of 96-84-1 during Hopson’s time as president and CEO and posted regular profits after years of financial instability in the 1990s.

“He ushered in a decade of exponential growth for the club’s business operations, football operations and Rider Pride,” the Saskatchewan Roughriders said on its website Wednesday morning.

The Riders went from a $455 profit in Hopson’s first year as president and CEO to securing the long-term future of the franchise with large savings and investments, the team said.

“The Roughriders became the CFL’s merchandising leaders and outsold all eight other CFL teams combined. Fan engagement was at an all-time high – made possible by strong performance off the field, but also and especially on the gridiron as well,” the team said.

Hopson was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 2019. 

Among Hopson’s long list of acknowledgements include the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in 2005, induction into the Junior Achievement Saskatchewan Business Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Award in 2011.

Hopson also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, the CFL’s Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award in 2014 and the U of R’s Alumni Associations Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

He was also inducted in to the Riders’ SaskTel Plaza of Honour in 2018. In 2022 Hopson was also inducted into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame and Mike Ditka’s Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund Hall of Fame.

Current president and CEO Craig Reynolds said Hopson was able to instill a belief that Roughrider football will “never fade away.”

"Jim was an optimist, someone who made you feel better by just being around him and a friend to all who knew him," Reynolds, who is expected to speak to the media Thursday morning at 9:00, said in a statement.

Hopson’s family said a celebration of life will be held on May 3 at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina, with further details and a full obituary to be released in the coming days.

Hopson was 73.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

How a DNA test solved the biggest mystery in one man's life

At 76 years old, Paul McLister learned the family he'd grown up with had kept a massive secret from him all his life. He also found answers to questions he'd pondered since childhood, and gained a whole new family — all because of a DNA test kit.

The shadow war between Iran and Israel has been exposed. What happens next?

Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which had relied on proxies across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October. All eyes are now on whether Israel chooses to take further military action, while Washington seeks diplomatic measures instead to ease regional tensions.

Stay Connected