Edmonton Eskimos Head Coach Jason Maas speaks about the year after being eliminated from the Western Finals by the Calgary Stampeders, in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday November 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Edmonton Eskimos keeping coach Jason Maas, GM Brock Sunderland until 2020

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Eskimos are keeping head coach Jason Maas and general manager Brock Sunderland until at least 2020.

The Eskimos announced after their annual general meeting Tuesday they’ve exercised the option year on Sunderland’s contract and extended Maas’s deal to the end of the 2020 season.

“We know that continuity is important,” Eskimos president and chief executive officer Len Rhodes told reporters. “So extending Brock through 2020, he in turn extending Jason Maas, we couldn’t be happier.”

Maas has served as Edmonton’s head coach the past two seasons, compiling a 22-14 record and leading the team to two division finals.

Sunderland joined the team in 2017 after four seasons as assistant GM of the Ottawa Redblacks. Edmonton went 12-6 last season.

“When you have the support of the people above you and their full confidence and the backing of the organization, it gives you all the confidence in the world,” Sunderland said.

“We’re very united here. There’s not many things that come up that Len, Jason and I aren’t on the same page.”

Under Maas, who is also Edmonton’s offensive co-ordinator, Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly was named the CFL’s most outstanding player in 2017.

Maas was Ottawa’s offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015 when Henry Burris earned the same honour.

Maas, a 42-year-old from Beaver Dam, Wis., played quarterback for nine seasons for Edmonton (2000-05, 2008-10) and won Grey Cup championships in 2003 and 2005.

Sunderland, from Great Falls, Mont., helped navigate the Redblacks to a Grey Cup title in 2016 in its third CFL season.

He was a scout for the Montreal Alouettes from 2004 to 2006 before a six-year scouting stint with the NFL’s New York Jets.

Meanwhile, the Eskimos posted a net profit of $431,638, according to treasurer Janice Agrios’s report at the meeting.

Edmonton’s operating revenue was $24.7 million, an increase of over five per cent from 2016.

Rhodes said an expensive financial variable in 2017 was the six-game injured list, which cost the team $1.1 million in 2017 compared to $410,000 in 2016.

“Quite frankly near the end of the year we were hoping we’d just stay in the black,” Rhodes said. “We did that.

“Brock deserves a medal in terms of managing it (and) not looking for excuses. You can’t control that part. Unfortunately there were a lot of injuries. And he came in under the salary cap.

“I think most importantly is we stayed competitive. It’s one thing to stay within the cap. It’s another to make sure that our fans see a product that makes them proud.”

Gate receipt revenues increased nine per cent to $806,259, while Rhodes also reported that sponsorship revenues increased 8.9 per cent to a club-record level.

Merchandise sales dipped 12.9 per cent, which was expected as 2016 sales exceeded projections due to the Eskimos’ 2015 Grey Cup win.

Total operating expenses increased $2.7 million to $24.1 million.

Rhodes said in his report season-ticket sales increased 2.6 per cent over last year but single-game revenues were up a whopping 26 per cent.

Edmonton will host the 2018 Grey Cup, which Rhodes expects will result in more than $80 million in economic benefit for the city.

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