OTD: BC Lions franchise overtaken by CFL as owner files for bankruptcy

On today’s date in 1992, BC Lions owner Murray Pezim—a flamboyant businessman from Vancouver—filed for bankruptcy, forcing the Canadian Football League (CFL) to assume the ownership of the faltering team.

In March 1992, the Lions lost future National Football League star Doug Flutie to free agency, setting the stage for what’s arguably the lowest point in BC Lions franchise history. An 0-8 start was the worst in club history, and only a mid-season three-game win streak brought any success on the field in what was a league-worst 3-15 record that season.

Flutie, who would play the 1992 season with the Calgary Stampeders, for whom he won the Grey Cup that year, was later named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player for the second straight season, becoming only the third player to do so.

A 1991 Sports Illustrated story describes Pezim’s tenure with the BC Lions: “Up in the owner’s box at Vancouver’s B.C. Place stadium, during a Canadian Football League game involving the British Columbia Lions, an old fat guy is on his feet. On his hands are huge orange mittens that look like lion paws. He is waving them and growling like a lion in support of the Lions. Fans look up at him with a mixture of amusement, amazement, bewilderment and contempt. He is Murray Pezim, 70. He owns the Lions. He knows nothing about football. Never mind, says Pezim. ‘I’m a natural, kooky owner.'”

Later that year, Canada Post featured Lion's legend Geroy Simon alongside a photo of 'Lui's Kick' on this Permanent-rate stamp (SC #2569).

Later that year, Canada Post featured Lions’ legend Geroy Simon alongside a photo of ‘Lui’s Kick’ on another Permanent stamp (SC #2569).

NEW OWNER, NEW ERA

By September 1992, Bill Comrie has purchased the BC Lions franchise from the CFL, beginning a new era in BC Lions history. Since the 1992 season, in which they placed dead last, the Lions have won the Grey Cup four times (1994, 2000, 2006 and 2011).

In 2012, to mark the 100th Grey Cup, the BC Lions were featured on two Permanent stamps issued by Canada Post.

Issued June 29, 2012, the first stamp (Scott #2559) depicts the team logo. Printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using three-colour lithography, the stamp measures 24 mm x 20 mm and has general tagging along each side.

The second stamp (SC #2569), issued Aug. 12, 2012, depicts BC Lions’ legend Geroy Simon alongside a photo of “Lui’s Kick,” which won the ’94 Grey Cup and is arguably the greatest play in the team’s franchise history.

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