Reaction pouring in, after the death of Riders’ Jim Hopson

Reaction has begun to pour in from across Saskatchewan and beyond on news that former Saskatchewan Roughriders President and CEO Jim Hopson has passed away.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders football club has confirmed Hopson has died on April 2 at age 73, after a lengthy battle with colon cancer.

Roughriders President and CEO Craig Reynolds has issued the following statement this morning:

“As president, Jim ushered in a new era for our organization that included two Grey Cup Championships, incredible financial success, and perhaps most importantly, a belief in Roughrider football that will never fade away. But more than that, Jim was an optimist, someone who made you feel better by just being around him and a friend to all who knew him. On behalf of Rider Nation, I want to send our condolences to Brenda, Tyler and Carrie, as well as our thanks for everything Jim brought to our team, and our community.”

Reynolds is currently enroute back to Regina, where he plans to meet the media to speak on Hopson’s passing tomorrow morning. 

Roughriders Board Chair Dave Pettigrew issued this statement:

“As my predecessors on the Board of Directors began the search for the first full-time president of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club, they were looking for someone who could dream big and harness all the potential that our organization had to offer. Jim Hopson took that challenge and exceeded all expectations, setting the standard for Rider pride. Jim’s contributions to the Club, to Canadian football and to the community will never be forgotten, nor will the warmth and joy he brought to every conversation. He will be immensely missed.”

On social media, the Roughriders posted this on their own feed on the ‘X’ platform:

“For all you have done for our organization and for Rider Nation, thank you Jim, we will miss you.”

Political leaders are paying tribute and have issued their own statements on social media. Premier Scott Moe posted the following on the ‘X’ platform:

“Deepest condolences to the family and friends of Riders player, President, CEO, two-time Grey Cup champion, CFL Hall of Famer and all-around great guy Jim Hopson. Thank you Jim. You made the Riders a better team and Saskatchewan a better place.”

Regina Rosemont NDP MLA Trent Wotherspoon posted the following:

“Very sad to hear that Jim Hopson has passed. Larger than life and a caring and committed leader on so many fronts – from education and in the community to Rider Nation. Jim made his province a better place. He is a Saskatchewan legend with a very proud legacy. May he RIP.”

Senator Denise Batters posted: “Rest in peace, Jim Hopson. May God grant peace to his family and many friends who are mourning.”

Reaction has started coming in from the sports world. Former Roughrider defensive tackle Scott Schultz posted on ‘X’: “Heartfelt condolences to Brenda and the Hopson family. Jim Hopson was a great man who chose to get involved where he could help and lead others. We can all be grateful to have learned and grown under his wing. #ToughDay”

Former 10-year member of the Roughriders staff Ryan Pollock posted: “I am deeply saddened to receive the news this morning that former #Rider CEO Jim Hopson has passed away. I carry endless respect for Jim and cherish the time I got to spend with him. Rest easy, Hoppy.”

Lee Genier, President of the Saskatchewan Rattlers of the CEBL, posted: “Saddened to hear the passing of former @sskroughriders President & CEO Jim Hopson – Friend and mentor #RIP”

There has also been an outpouring of media reaction from current and former media members who worked with Hopson. Among those was from former Rider Radio broadcaster Daniella Ponticelli who posted: “Rest in peace, Jim Hopson. Jim was so generous, always, with his time and openly sharing his experiences, love of life and passion for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Sending love to his family and friends, and all of Riderville…Forever in our hearts.”

It is expected there will be even more tributes paid online and elsewhere as the day unfolds, as people learn the news of Hopson’s passing.

More from GX94 Radio