Hamilton Tiger-Cats to induct Mike Walker, Bernie Custis into Wall of Honour

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are inducting Mike Walker and Bernie Custis into the team’s Wall of Honour.

“It’s truly a privilege to have two people as deserving of this honour as Mike Walker and Bernie Custis,” said owner Bob Young in a statement. “They both exemplified what it means to be Hamilton Tiger-Cats and members of the Hamilton community and their impacts on the city and region are still felt today. I can’t wait to join all the Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans in celebrating these truly deserving people on October 4 at Tim Hortons Field.”

Walker played 108 games with the Ticats from 1982 to 1989, winning a Grey Cup with the team in 1986. The native of Indianapolis, Ind. ranks third in club history with 82 sacks and he was named a CFL all-star three times during his tenure in Steeltown. The 65-year-old was inducted in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2021.

“I can’t thank Mr. Caretaker Bob Young, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and the alumni association enough for granting me this great honour,” said Walker. “Every time I took the field as a Ticat I was competing for the city of Hamilton and I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to compete for this great fan base and team. I want to thank the ownership group, all my former teammates, and of course the fans for being by my side this whole time and I’m looking forward to seeing you all in October.”

Custis played 50 games with Hamilton from 1951 to 1954 and is credited as the first Black quarterback ever to play at the professional level. The native of Philadelphia, Pa. served as a teacher and elementary school principal following his retirement from professional football and spent over 30 years coaching amateur football at Sheridan College, McMaster University, and with the Burlington Braves. He was inducted to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 1998.

The product of Syracuse University, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 88, is the first builder to be selected for Hamilton’s Wall of Honour since Jake Gaudaur in 2004.

26 individuals have previously been inducted since the Wall of Honour was founded in 1998, including Rocky DiPietro, Bernie Faloney, Ellison Kelly, Angelo Mosca, Tommy Joe Coffey, Garney Henley, John Barrow, Ben Zambiasi, Ralph Sazio, Grover Covington, Jake Gaudaur, Earl Winfield, Bill Danychuk, Joe Zuger, Less Browne, Don Sutherin, Vince Scott, Tommy Grant, Paul Osbaldiston, Pete Neumann, Bob Krouse, Willie Bethea, Joe Montford, Rob Hitchcock, Danny McManus, and Darren Flutie.

The ceremony will take place on Friday, Oct. 4. when the Tiger-Cats host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Tim Hortons Field.