Ray, Cox among inductees to 2022 Canadian Football Hall of Fame
The Canadian Football Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2022 on Tuesday afternoon.
Quarterback Ricky Ray and linebacker Chip Cox headline the inductees in the Players category as first-ballot Hall of Famers. They will be joined by kicker Paul McCallum, fullback Tim Tindale and two-way player Dick Thornton.
CFL coach Dave Ritchie, Calgary Colts founder Keith Evans, and team executive Roy Shivers will be inducted into the Builders category.
“The Canadian Football Hall of Fame is honoured to welcome this year’s incredible class,” said Greg Dick, Interim CFHOF Executive Director. “Their accomplishments on and off the field serve as tremendous inspiration to everyone who loves Canadian football. To the selection committee, thank you for your time and dedication to shining the spotlight on these amazing individuals and their outstanding careers.”
Ray, 42, played 235 CFL games over 16 seasons with Edmonton and the Toronto Argonauts. He sits second all-time in career completion percentage (68.2 per cent), fifth in passing touchdowns (324), and fourth in passing yards (60,736). Ray holds the all-time passing record for both Edmonton and Toronto franchises, an impact he is very thankful to have made on two of the league’s most historic franchises.
“When you talk about the CFL and you look at the history and the championships, Edmonton and Toronto are the two teams that are at the top of that list. So to be a part of those franchises and to have a little bit of impact on on each one of them is definitely special to me,” Ray told reporters on Monday.
Ray won four Grey Cups throughout his career, the most in league history by a starter. Ray once again expressed his gratitude for the opportunity in the CFL following a few years of uncertainty coming out of college.
“It's been a long journey for me, coming out of Sacramento State and really thinking my football career was over, to now be able to get the phone call, I'm definitely excited and honored. I just feel very lucky that I was given those opportunities and was able to take advantage of it.”
Cox, 38, played 13 seasons for the Montreal Alouettes and finished his career fourth on the all-time tackles list with 979. Cox, who also holds the CFL record with 392 fumble return yards, said that receiving the honour justified his years of hard work.
“It justifies all the hard work and sacrifice that I put in for the game,” Cox said. “You know you're giving them time with your family being away, and then to be honored for it, to be recognized for this, it's it's a great thing.
“It validates it all, especially being a first ballot. That's the way to end it, the cherry on top. It took a while, but I'm getting my roses.”
Cox was named Most Outstanding Defensive player in 2013 and was a two-time Grey Cup winner in 2009 and 2010. He was also named a Division All-Star six times and a CFL All-Star four times.
The Columbus, Ohio native also had high praise for his fellow inductee Ray, who he played against for all 12 seasons of his career.
“When I first got into league in 2006, he had just won a Grey Cup and he and [Anthony Calvillo] were the talks of the league,” Cox said. “Then for me to be going into the Hall of Fame at the same time. It’s pretty cool.”
McCallum, 52, was one of the best kickers in CFL history, playing 24 seasons with the BC Lions, Ottawa Roughriders, and Saskatchewan Roughriders. He is second among all-time scorers with 3,145 points and is one of two players (Luis Passaglia) to have surpassed 3,000 points.
“It means a whole heck of a lot now because I’ve never really been one for personal rewards, so to speak, you know I've always done things hoping that it would be beneficial to the team,” said McCallum. “But when I got the phone call and it hit me, then you know how special [it is].
McCallum is a two-time Grey Cup Champion, five-time Division All-Star and two-time CFL All-Star.
“It's quite an honor to be considered, you know, in the same kind of level, as these other players. That being said, there's still a lot of good players that aren't in so it makes it that much more special.”
Tindale, 51, played collegiately with the Western Mustangs and won the Hec Crighton Trophy twice in 1991 and 1993. The London, Ont. native recorded 2,554 yards and 36 touchdowns for the Mustangs and set a then U-SPORTS record with 1,208 rushing yards in a season. He went on the play 37 games over three seasons with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
“Well, I was surprised, it kind of caught me off guard,” Tindale told reporters. “I was aware that Marv Levy was in this year . So that's quite special and to be included with the likes of him is amazing.
“It's always been about the about the hard work and doing the things off the field that that other players weren't doing. And I think that's that's what got me to the NFL and sparked some success at Western. I've always believed in striving to be the hardest worker out there.”
Thornton played 12 seasons for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts at both defensive back and quarterback. He played in three Grey Cups winning one with Winnipeg in 1962. Thornton, who will be inducted posthumously, was a five-time CFL Division All-Star.
Ritchie coached 22 CFL seasons with the Lions (1993-95), Alouettes (1997-98), and Blue Bombers (1999-2004). He sits seventh all time with 108 wins and holds a career .586 winning percentage. Ritchie won one Grey Cup as a head coach with the Lions (1994) and another two as a member of Bombers (1990) and Lions (2006) coaching staffs.
Shivers has a 32-year CFL career as a coach, director of player personnel, assistant general manager, and general manager. He won four Grey Cups in his illustrious career, twice with the Lions (1985, 2011) and twice with the Calgary Stampeders (1992. 1998).
Evans was a large part of football's growth in Alberta, founding the Calgary Colts of the Canadian Junior Football League in 1965. He served as the team’s general manager from 1969 to 2019. He as inducted to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
The 2022 class will officially be inducted on September 16 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, prior to the game between the Tiger-Cats and Blue Bombers.