It was a superhero’s welcome as the BC Lions paid tribute to one of the greatest players in franchise history Friday night at BC Place. With number 81 jerseys dominating the backs of fans, Simon’s number was retired during an emotional half-time celebration.
There was a definite Flashback Friday feel to the evening as Simon was invited into his former dressing room to give the Lions’ pre-game speech. Despite finishing his career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2013, Simon will always be considered a Lion, having spent 12 of his 15 CFL seasons in BC. No matter where he rests his head, this town – and the dome – will forever be his home.
This is the place where Simon captured 10,000 receiving yards before continuing on to pass Milt Stegal to claim the right to call himself the league’s all time leading receiver.
This is the place where he tasted his first Grey Cup Championship victory.
This is the place he christened his touchdown Superman pose.
This is the place where we watched him leap into endzones in a single bound.
This is where he became a CFL star.
Simon delivered a heartfelt speech that prompted a loud ovation, but the most emotional moment of the night came during an opening video address from his son, Gervon, who thanked his dad for being his Superman, prompting a tear from the retired star’s eyes.
Lions’ GM and VP, Wally Buono, was joined by Lions’ Vice President, George Chayka, and President and CEO, Dennis Skulsky, as they expressed their appreciation for Simon’s dozen years of service.
To cap off the tribute, the City of Vancouver proclaimed Friday as Geroy Simon Day – fitting for a man who seems to have no kryptonite.