On the weekend in which he becomes enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the Edmonton Elks are honouring legendary quarterback Ricky Ray with a tribute of their own.
The Elks are set to pay tribute to the franchise’s all-time passing leader by wearing a special helmet decal featuring the number 15 when they take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday. Ray, who is part of the 2022 Hall of Fame class, will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in Hamilton, Ontario that same night.
A product of Sacramento State University, Ray arrived in Edmonton in 2002 and took over the starting job as a rookie, leading the team to a Grey Cup appearance. He would go on to play nine seasons in Green and Gold, interrupted only by a stint with the New York Jets in 2004, and led the team to two Grey Cup championships in 2003 and 2005. He was named the game’s MVP on both occasions.
Ray finished his career atop the Elks’ all-time record books in completions (3,225), yards (40,531), and touchdowns (210). He was the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player on five separate occasions and led the league in passing three times while in Edmonton, earning a place in the Elks’ Wall of Honour in 2019.
“When I first got to Edmonton, seeing (old highlights) about the league and the organization inspired me to want to be a part of that, and for me to go out there and experience some of those things I saw in those highlight films, it’s just very fulfilling and rewarding and satisfying,” Ray said in a statement.
“Hopefully I was able to leave a little bit of an impact in the CFL and maybe inspire another young player who is coming up to want to be able to experience that.”
After being traded to the Toronto Argonauts in 2012, Ray continued his dominance and won two more Grey Cups. Over 18 CFL seasons, he earned four division All-Star selections and retire in 2018 as one of only four players in league history with more than 60,000 yards passing.
While the official Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday night, Ray and his fellow inductees will also be honoured at half-time of Saturday’s clash between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Tim Hortons Field. The Class of 2022 also includes Chip Cox, Paul McCallum, Tim Tindale, and Dick Thornton in the player category; Dave Ritchie, Keith Evans, and Roy Shivers in the builder category; and Glen Suitor and Ed Willes in the media wing.
The Elks (3-10) are scheduled to kickoff against the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-7) at 9:30 p.m. EDT on Friday in Regina. The team will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss.