To B.C. Lions and Canadian Football League fans, Jim Young is one of the all-time greatest players.
After leaving noted Westdale High School in his native Hamilton, Ont. – the same school that produced CFL Hall of Fame legend Russ Jackson – Young took his considerable talents to the Canadian university football ranks.
Young and fellow Lions alumni, centre Jamie Taras, and the man Taras tutored for his position, Vernon’s Angus Reid, will be guests of honour at the first Kal Tire Kalamalka Bowl Canadian U-Sports exhibition football game between the UBC Thunderbirds and the University of Calgary Dinos Wednesday, Aug. 24, at Greater Vernon Athletic Park. Game time is 7 p.m.
“I think it will be a great game,” said Young, 79, now living in Armstrong with his wife, Kari.
Known as Dirty 30 for his work ethic and for being one of the toughest players to ever suit up for the Lions, Young was the heart and soul of the CFL club from 1967 to 1979.
Prior to turning professional, he accepted a scholarship to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., where he was an all-star running back in each of his three seasons with the Golden Gaels. In 1963, Young played on both the offensive and defensive teams.
He was a sought after commodity at the end of his college career, and was drafted first overall by the Toronto Argonauts. However, when the Argos wouldn’t meet his contract demands, Young accepted an offer from the Minnesota Vikings and caught on to play two seasons for the NFL club.
Young retired from the field in 1979 after 12 seasons with the Lions, over the course of which he had 522 pass receptions for 9,248 yards and 65 touchdowns.
He later tried his hand at coaching, working the university sidelines with the Simon Fraser Clan.
“I always enjoyed football at that level,” said Young. “I’ve got a few little trophies from the annual Shrum Bowl (SFU vs UBC).”
The Kal Tire Kalamalka Bowl is the first CIS U-Sports exhibition game to be played in the North Okanagan.
A special Huddle in the Park feature will be held Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Polson Park. It’s a free, family event that will feature players and coaches from both teams for a meet-and-greet, a live concert from popular Vernon band Cod Gone Wild from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and a concession operated by Silver Star Rotary.
Tickets are still available for the game at kalbowl.com.
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