B.C. Lions to honour 2000 Grey Cup team with Wall of Fame enshrinement

Graphic courtesy: B.C. Lions

The B.C. Lions are set to honour their 2000 Grey Cup championship team this season, enshrining them on the organization’s Wall of Fame.

The fourth Grey Cup-winning squad in franchise history, the 2000 Lions also hold the dubious distinction of becoming the first team to win a CFL title after finishing below .500 in the regular season. The team went 8-10 that year, good enough for the third seed in the West Division, and fired head coach Greg Mohns halfway through the year, replacing him with receivers coach Steve Buratto.

“It was a Cinderella story as we snuck into the playoffs and went all the way, capturing the coveted Grey Cup,” said Jamie Taras, an offensive lineman on that team and the Lions’ current director of community partnerships.

“It’s an honour to have the entire team join our Wall of Fame and forever be enshrined with the long list of franchise greats.”

The Lions defeated Edmonton 34-32 in the Western Semi-Final and toppled the division-leading Stampeders 37-23 in back-to-back road playoff wins, before moving on to the 88th Grey Cup in Calgary. B.C. would stun the 12-6 Montreal Alouettes 28-26, as legendary kicker Lui Passaglia hit a 29-yard field goal with 1:25 left to win what would be the final game of his illustrious CFL career.

The Lions rushed for 260 yards en route to victory, led by Robert Drummond who carried 10 times for 122 yards and a long touchdown run to be named the game’s Most Valuable Player. His backfield running mate Sean Millington took home Most Valuable Canadian honours after rushing for 99 yards of his own, while quarterback Damon Allen added a pair of scores to his 39 yards on the ground.

“That was a very special group of men who battled hard for each other and knew how to win,” said Lions’ co-general manager Neil McEvoy, who served as a special teams assistant that year. “While the regular season standings may have indicated otherwise, this team proved what they were capable of when it mattered most.”

Other notable players who were part of the 2000 team included edge rusher Daved Benefield, defensive tackle Noah Cantor, cornerback Eric Carter, returner Jimmy ‘The Jet’ Cunningham, slotback Alfred Jackson, linebacker Carl Kidd, guard Cory Mantyka, offensive tackle Chris Perez, and defensive end Herman Smith.

The ceremony will take place as part of Legends Night, when the Lions host the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, September 13. The team is slated to open their season against the same opponent on the road on Sunday, June 9.