Running the Riders: My Decade as CEO of Canada’s Team


  • Format Trade Paperback
  • Author Jim Hopson with Darrell Davis
  • Publish Date October 30, 2015
  • ISBN 978-1-927570-23-4
Jim Hopson with Darrell Davis1 Book


Description: The Saskatchewan Roughriders were mired in mediocrity, a decent football team that couldn’t advance to the Grey Cup as the franchise worked its way out of financial distress and tried to reconnect with its fan base. In 2004, offensive lineman-turned educator Jim Hopson was hopeful that the Roughriders directors would hire him as the team’s first full-time president and CEO. He believed that the team, with its incredible fan base, could become a successful business that consistently posted strong annual profits while playing in and winning multiple Grey Cups. And it happened. After a decade under Hopson’s leadership (2005 to 2015), the Roughriders became the Canadian Football League’s strongest franchise, appearing in four Grey Cup games (winning twice) and selling more team merchandise than the other eight CFL franchises combined. They obliterated their debt and posted a record-setting profit after winning a hometown Grey Cup in 2013, which has been described as the biggest moment in the 105-year-old team’s history.

​Hopson’s book, with the assistance of Darrell Davis (an author and long-time sports writer and Roughriders beat writer at the Regina Leader-Post), describes Hopson’s business plans, the resistance to change within the organization, the interplay with the fans of Rider Nation, difficult decisions made, and the euphoria of winning two league championships. An emotional man with a firm disposition, Jim Hopson describes the highs and lows that went along with the job and the path he took, professionally and personally, to the biggest office with the franchise known as “Canada’s Team.”

ISBN 978-1-927570-23-4; 6″w x 9″h; 224 pages; 68 photos. ​© ​2015; Ages 15 to Adult; Nonfiction; Saskatchewan Roughriders; Sports; Canadian Football League; Prairie Provinces; Business; Leadership; Education; Saskatchewan teacher; Saskatchewan author; Canadian.

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About the Author: A former offensive lineman with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Jim Hopson grew up in Regina before playing junior football with the Rams and advancing to a career in education as a teacher, principal, and administrator. Combined with his passion for the Roughriders, Hopson had the perfect blend of attributes to haul the franchise out of a malaise that had seen the franchise teetering on bankruptcy and, because talented players were reluctant to join the faltering squad, winning only two Grey Cups in the previous 40 years. After a decade at the helm of Rider Nation, Hopson retired from his Riders duties early in 2015, leaving behind him a team that was now the league’s strongest franchise. Jim Hopson has become a keynote speaker at major conventions and business gatherings throughout Canada, where his storytelling prowess and powerful message about setting a firm plan in place – and never wavering! – make him a sought-after headliner. Jim Hopson lives at Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan with his wife Brenda.

Darrell Davis, an author of three books and a long-time sports writer and Roughriders beat writer at the Regina Leader-Post, assisted Hopson in writing revisions, as an adviser, fact-checker, foreman, and sometimes ghostwriter for the project. Darrell Davis lives in Regina.

Responses from Readers:

  • “My boss is reading your book. He can’t stop talking about it. He wants you to come and speak to our senior leadership group.”
  • “I couldn’t put the book down. Interesting, insightful and entertaining.”
  • “I love how readable this book is. I feel like I’m just sitting there, listening to you telling stories. Taking the spoken storytelling and turning it into a readable book is no small feat, and you nailed it! Congratulations!”
  • “This is like a trip down memory lane for Riders fans.”

(All Prices Include GST)

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