Beloved Hamilton Tiger-Cats trainer dead at 86

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Published July 23, 2021 at 3:34 am

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Tributes poured across social media on Thursday after word of the death of longtime Hamilton Tiger-Cats trainer Ray Jones.

Jones, who was the trainer for the Canadian Football League club from 1980 to ’96, was 86. 

The team announced his passing on Twitter.

“Nobody loved the CFL more than Jonesy,” Sportsnet play-by-play broadcaster Chris Cuthbert, who called CFL games for three decades with CBC and TSN, wrote on Twitter.”He’d drop by the booth before every game at Ivor Wynne (Stadium) with a story or the latest news. Condolences to his family, friends and Ticats family.”

Jones’ tenure with the Tiger-Cats included some winning times in the 1980s. Hamilton reached the Grey Cup five times in 10 seasons, winning in 1986. In 1989, they had a narrow last-second loss against Saskatchewan in the 1989 championship game, which is considered the greatest game in the league’s history. Saskatchewan won on a field goal after an acrobatic, twisting game-tying touchdown catch by Tony Champion, whom the Ticats medical staff had helped continue to play despite having broken ribs.

Jones was known for a boisterous personality. After his retirement, he remained a fixture around the football scene in Hamilton, particularly on game days.

“He was a great man,” Ken Evraire, a wide receiver from the early-1990s Ticats, wrote on a Twitter. “He loved taking care of us.”

Prior to working with the Ticats, Jones was a trainer for the Canada Olympic men’s basketball team. His 35-year association with Mohawk College, where he provided on-site support and rehab programs for varsity, intramural and academic programs, led the school to induct him into its sports hall of fame in 2003.

“Quick, efficient, and a barrel of laughs,” Karin Primorac, a Mohawk volleyball alumna, wrote on Twitter. “No better man was there ever in his profession.”

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