British Columbia Lions

Facts and information about the British Columbia Lions

  • A representative wishing to form a Vancouver based football team were prepared to purchase a franchise in 1952, but the Winnipeg and Regina franchises voted against allowing them in.
  • Approval was finally given in 1953 for a west coast football team on the condition that they could build a stadium that would hold at least 15,000 people, sell 6,500 season tickets, and guarantee that they would pay the travel expenses of the incoming football teams.
  • The British Columbia (or BC) Lions played their first season in 1954.
  • The British Columbia Lions get their team name from the Lions Mountains located north of Vancouver.
  • In their first year in the CFL, the Lions went 1-15 with their only win coming at home against the Calgary Stampeders.
  • In 1959 the Lions finished the season with their first winning record (9-7) and qualified for the playoffs for the first time.
  • The first touchdown scored for the British Columbia Lions was by fullback Byron “By” Bailey in their first game ever, an 8-6 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • The first Lion player to win a Canadian Football League award was Neal Beaumont who won the WIFU Most Outstanding Rookie award in 1960.
  • In 1963, the Lions finished in first place for the very first time.
  • The BC Lions first Grey Cup Championship came in the 1964 season.
  • Empire Stadium, original home to the British Columbia Lions, was home to the first installation of artificial turf in Canada in 1970.
  • Former player, coach, and general manager Jackie Parker was the first British Columbia Lion to be inducted into the CFL Hall-of-Fame.
  • Future Los Angeles Raiders great Mervyn Fernandez won the Jackie Parker award as the western divisions Most Outstanding Rookie in 1982.
  • BC Place, the Lions indoor downtown Vancouver stadium opened in June of 1983.
  • In 1991, Doug Flutie’s second year in the CFL, he set the all time single season passing yards record of not just the CFL but all of professional football with 6,619 yards.
  • After 21 years since their last championship, the British Columbia Lions won the Grey Cub in 1985.
  • In 1985, Mervyn Fernandez became the first BC Lion to win the Most Outstanding Player award.
  • In 1986 the Lions met and beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers three straight weekends; in back-to-back games to end the regular season and then in the first round of the playoffs.
  • The Lions lost the 1988 Grey Cup to Winnipeg then started the 1989 season with four straight losses, prompting them to fire Head Coach Larry Donovan.
  • In 1991, Doug Flutie won the CFL Most Outstanding Player Award while with the BC Lions.
  • In a 1993 game, Lions Quarterback Danny Barrett would break the single game passing yards record when he completed 30 passes for an amazing 601 yards.
  • During the 1994 season the Lions score 67 points against the Shreveport Pirates.
  • During a 1994 playoff game the Lions beat the Calgary Stampeders, led by former Lions Quarterback Doug Flutie, to qualify for the Grey Cup on a last second Touchdown pass to the other Flutie, Wide Receiver Darren Flutie.
  • The Lions beat the Ottawa Rough Riders 35-24 on November 2, 1996 in what proved to be the Rough Riders final game as a franchise.
  • In 2000, with the team’s record sitting at 3-4 Head Coach Greg Mohns resigned from the Lions to join the startup XFL football league. The Lions would go on to save the season, make the playoffs, and win the Grey Cup for replacement coach Steve Buratto.
  • Lui Passaglia played in 408 games in a 25 year career as a Kicker in the CFL; all 25 seasons were spent as a member of the BC Lions.
  • Mervyn Fernandez, who had starred for the Lions from 1982 to 1986 at which point he left to play football in the NFL for the Los Angeles Raiders, returned to play one final season for BC in 1994.

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