Lions share Grey Cup magic with fans in Comox
The Grey Cup and two key members of the 2011 Canadian Football League playoff champion BC Lions visited with fans Tuesday at the Comox Community Centre during a provincewide celebration of a season that did not exactly kick off with a bang.
Seven weeks into the year, the Lions were in last place with one win and six losses. The team then won 12 of its next 13 games, including the Western final and the Grey Cup championship at BC Place, defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 34-23.
"It was a life lesson as much as it was a football lesson for us," quarterback Travis Lulay, MVP of the regular season and the Grey Cup final, said Tuesday in Comox. "Not giving up, believing in what you're doing, rallying around the people around you.
"We had good guys in the locker room, character guys, and that was really the only reason we were able to climb out of that hole. Every week we got a little better...It was absolutely magic, to be able to win a Grey Cup at home."
Kicker Paul McCallum, who hails from North Vancouver, is entering his 20th season in the CFL. His path to football was a little out of the ordinary, having been a soccer player until age 19.
He recalled the parents and volunteers who put in the time during his junior football days in Surrey.
"If it wasn't for the community football, I wouldn't be here today," said McCallum, who kicked four field goals in the Grey Cup final.
Comox Valley resident Tony Collier, a member of the '94 Grey Cup champion Lions, and former Leo Jamie Taras, the team's director of community relations, were also on hand Tuesday at the Comox Community Centre.
Aside from displaying the cup, the purpose of the tour is to promote health and fitness, and to raise awareness for KidSport, which raises money for children who cannot afford to play their favourite sport.
"The Lions do over 160 school programs from January to May, and we do that in partnership with this great province," Taras said.
The tour started Sunday in Burnaby and continued Monday in Victoria. After stopping in Comox, the Cup made its way to Kelowna Tuesday evening. It was to be in Prince George Thursday and Friday then back to the Lower Mainland Saturday.