BC Lions Team History
On January 22, 1953, the first annual meeting of the club was held. In that meeting, Arthur E. Mercer was hired as the club’s first president. Later in the year, Mercer, Bill Morgan, Bill Ralston, and Whit Matthews went back to the WlFU meetings. This time, they sold the idea of a fifth Western team, and Vancouver was granted a conditional franchise. They were required to provide a 15,000-seat stadium, sell at least 6,500 season tickets, and guarantee travel expenses for the visiting teams.
All the pieces began to fall into place when it was announced that Vancouver would host the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, and that it would mean the building of a new stadium – Empire Stadium, which seated 32,300 people. By Easter of 1953, Annis Stukus was then lured away from the Toronto Argonauts to return to the West to become the first public relations manager, general manager, and head coach of the franchise.
After achieving an 11–2–3 regular season record in 1964, and defeating the Calgary Stampeders in a three-game series in the Western Conference finals, the Lions advanced to meet the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a Grey Cup rematch at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. In the rematch, BC got their revenge as Kapp, Fleming, and Bill Munsey, who gave a two-touchdown, two-way starring effort, helped the Lions to their first Grey Cup victory. With the addition of two field goals and an extra touchdown by the field goal unit, the Lions won the Grey Cup for the first time in franchise history with a 34–24 victory. The win ended 11 years of waiting for the British Columbia faithful. At the end of the 1964 season, defensive lineman Tom Brownwas named a CFL All-Star, a back-to-back Schenley award winner as CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman Award, and won the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the Western Conference. Joining Brown as All-Stars on defence were Mike Cacic, Dick Fouts, and Munsey. Joe Kapp and tackle Lonnie Dennis were named CFL All-Stars on offence.
Any hopes of the BC Lions becoming a dynasty team after their Grey Cup championship season quickly disappeared in 1965, as the team started to recede back to the basement of the Western Conference. Before the beginning of the season, By Bailey left the team and the entire roster was starting to age as the Lions finished the season with a 6–9–1 regular season record. As a result, the team missed the playoffs one year after being on top of the CFL world. It was clear that head coach Dave Skrien would never again experience the same success as he achieved the previous two seasons.
The Lions’ 1985 season began with much promise. Mervyn Fernandez shattered several team receiving records and second year receiver Jim Sandusky broke the 1,000 yard mark. Rookie defensive tackle Mike Gray was the most visible of several rookies. With depth and few injuries, the final season record of 13–3 was the best in team history, bringing the Lions their third consecutive first place divisional finish. The Lions avenged their prior year’s playoff defeat by handling Winnipeg 42–22, despite the fact that the Blue Bombers had won both regular season meetings and wide receiver Fernandez was out with a leg injury. One week later, the same Lions line-up met Hamilton at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Twenty-one years of waiting ended with a 37–24 Grey Cup championship victory over the Tiger-Cats in the 73rd Grey Cup. Quarterback Roy Dewalt won the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Player awardon offence, while defensive end James “Quick” Parker took home the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Player award on defence. Kicker Lui Passaglia was named the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Canadian. Don Matthews won his first CFL Coach of the Year award. Mervyn Fernandez became the first Lion to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award and defensive tackle Mike Gray won both the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie award and the Jackie Parker Trophy. Linebacker Tyrone Crews won the first of two consecutive CFL Players Association Outstanding Community Service Awards. The CFL champions returned to Vancouver for a victory celebration that swept across the entire province.
The 82nd Grey Cup was the 1994 Canadian Football League championship game played between the Baltimore Football Club and the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was the first championship in professional football history to feature a United States-vs-Canada matchup. The Lions won the game by a score of 26–23, on a last second field-goal by Lui Passaglia.
The 88th Grey Cup (Canadian Football League championship) was held in 2000 in Calgary. The BC Lions won the game 28–26 over the Montreal Alouettes. The Lions, who finished 8–10 with an overtime loss during the regular season, became the first team ever to finish with a regular season record below .500 and win the Grey Cup.
The 94th Grey Cup game took place on November 19, 2006, at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg, Manitoba before 44,786 fans. Ticket prices ranged from $141 and $275. The game decided the championship of the 2006 Canadian Football League season. The BC Lions defeated the Montreal Alouettes, 25-14.
The 99th Grey Cup was a Canadian football game between the East Division champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the West Division champion BC Lions to decide the champion of the Canadian Football League in the 2011 season. The Lions defeated the Blue Bombers 34–23 and became the first team in CFL history to win the Grey Cup after starting the season with five straight losses. They also became the first team to win the championship game at home since the 1994 Lions did it in the 82nd Grey Cup, and were only the fourth team in the modern era to do so. This, a rematch of the 76th Grey Cup, was the second time that these two teams met for the championship.
The game took place on November 27, 2011, at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia. This was the eighth Grey Cup game played at BC Place, and the 15th in Vancouver, the most recent previous one having been the 93rd Grey Cup between the Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos.
BC head coach Wally Buono won his fifth Grey Cup, tying a CFL record. In his first Grey Cup, Lions quarterback Travis Lulaythrew two second-half touchdown passes and was named Grey Cup MVP. Lions tailback Andrew Harris, also playing in his first championship game, was the Most Valuable Canadian.
The BC Lions are a professional Canadian football team competing in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Lions play their home games at BC Place.
1958 – Present / Canadian Football League
1954 - Present / BC Lions
Lions - The B.C. franchise adopted the Lions nickname after a fan contest to select the team's moniker before their inaugural 1954 season. The name Lions comes from the twin mountain peaks north of Vancouver who are said to be guarding Vancouver.
Grey Cup 6
2011, 2006, 2000, 1994, 1985, 1964
1983 - Present / BC Place
1954 - 1982 / Empire Stadium
1996 - Present / David Braley
1996 / Canadian Football League
1996 / Nelson Skalbania and Michael Jensen
1992 - 1996 / Bill Comrie
1992 / Canadian Football League
1989 - 1992 / Murray Pezim
1953 - 1989 / Community - Widely Held
1956 - 1960 / John Bassett, Charlie Burns and Eric Cradock
1873 - 1956 / Community - Widely Held
Who is the greatest BC Lions?
5 Lui Passaglia
15 Willie "The Wisp" Fleming
22 Joe Kapp
30 Jim "Dirty Thirty" Young
38 Byron "By" Bailey
52 Al Wilson
60 Jamie Taras
64 Angus Ried
75 Norm Fieldgate
81 Geroy Simon
97 Brent Johnson
Present / Leo the Lion
*Blue is this team’s history