Lyle Bauer's next goal isn't a Grey Cup championship -- it's sacking the Selinger government.
The former face of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is the new chief executive officer of Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives. His hiring was known within the party for several weeks, but was made public Wednesday evening as the Tories gathered at Polo Park Canad Inns for their annual fundraising dinner.
Bauer said he accepted the job and came back to the province to "give back to the community."
"Manitoba has been very, very good to me," Bauer said. "I think I should contribute to the province and give people an opportunity to make a choice for the future."
Bauer's hiring is a bit of anomaly for a provincial political party, which usually taps someone from the inner circle. However, the PCs are hoping his name will be recognizable to Manitobans more familiar with football than Tory Leader Brian Pallister.
"For the last year or so, I've really been looking for an opportunity to come back to Manitoba, but it had to be the right opportunity," Bauer said. "This is a way to make a difference."
Pallister said Bauer is the perfect fit for a party that has to increase its organizational work and outreach over the next two years.
"This is work that Lyle has done all his life, reaching out, recruiting, motivating and bringing people together to accomplish a goal," Pallister said. "You don't get three Grey Cup rings without understanding how to build a team."
Bauer resigned last year as president and chief operating officer of the Calgary Stampeders after serving three years.
He left the Blue Bombers in 2009 as president and CEO after several disappointing seasons and a particularly bad year under then coach Mike Kelly.
In 2004, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and has fully recovered. He created and is still involved in the Never Alone Foundation, a charity that supports agencies, projects and programs that aid in the fight against cancer.