Montreal Alouettes Legend Ben Cahoon Reflects On His Hall Of Fame Career

Ben Cahoon | (Retired) Receiver | Montreal Alouettes

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First of all, when you step on the field the first day of practice, you want to win a championship. The city welcomed us and partied with us like crazy because it had been years since they had witnessed a Grey Cup celebration.

Ben Cahoon

(Retired) Receiver

Montreal Alouettes

× The interview with Ben Cahoon was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

You obtained Canadian status in the CFL despite being born in the US from having lived in Alberta for several years which allowed you to become draft eligible in 1998. What significance did this have for you starting out your career?

It was huge in even giving me an opportunity. I spent at least 8 years before a certain age living in Canada.

Although I was born in Utah, I was only here for 2 or 3 months after my mom gave birth to me so I was raised in Alberta as my parents were already residents there.

They had been down in Utah for a semester of college when I was born so Canada became my first home.

After they graduated college, my teacher taught at Concordia University in Montreal so I spent a year and a half in Montreal as a 7-year-old.

This allowed me to become draft-eligible in the end which had it not happened, I’m not sure I would have been given the same opportunity to play in this league.

You did not draw much interest from Montreal initially but were eventually drafted by them in the first round in 1998. What were your initial thoughts on going to the city and playing for a team who had come back to the league after a brief absence? How did you embrace living there?

I was excited when they drafted me since I had the connection with having lived there as a kid.

The city ultimately ended up embracing our family. It was a phenomenal experience.

It was a long haul away from home from the west where all my other relatives still lived.

I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend in Montreal, I never really became a free agent and was able to string together 13 years playing there.

You are widely regarded as the best receiver in Montreal Alouettes history having been a part of 3 Grey Cup wins (2002, 2009, 2010), were an East Division All-Star nearly every year of your career and were named the Most Outstanding Canadian 3 times. What did it mean to be a member of the greatest era of the Montreal Alouettes’ history?

Being part of the team was an honour.

I was lucky timing wise, the real credit goes to guys like Jim Popp and our coaches who were able to handle the talent Jim brought in.

I came in at the same time as Anthony Calvillo who was probably most responsible for our success.

We had stability on the offensive line with Brian Chu, Scott Flory, just stalwarts on the offensive line. We had studs on the defensive line as well. We had lots of stability which is rare in the CFL.

Jim Popp did a great job, our owner was committed to keeping the core guys together and taking care of us.

Finally, it resulted in a few grey cup wins that cemented us into the history books.

What are the three most special memories from your career and why are they so special?

3 Grey Cup celebrations.

Those were absolutely unbelievable and you can’t know what they’re like until you experience one of them.

We had the first parade in 2002 and the parade down St. Catherines in Montreal was absolutely magical, better than anything you could ever dream of.

We went through a few years of drought, but to get that experience again in 2009 and 2010, that’s the best.

You feel relieved that the season is over, you can party with your buddies and also enjoy sharing it with the city of Montreal.

Those are absolute highlights. There are other big games, big catches and things in there that rank pretty close, but without a doubt post grey cup celebrations are the number one memory. 

What was special about 2002, it had been 25 years since there was a grey cup championship in the city of Montreal, that was the coolest thing.

First of all, when you step on the field on the first day of practice, you want to win a championship. The city welcomed us and partied with us like crazy because it had been years since they had witnessed a Grey Cup celebration. 

We played in 4 Grey Cups between 2002 and 2009 and lost them all, so 2009 helped us get the monkey off our back again.

The game was just epic and it was the best game in the history of the CFL. The way we fought back and won that game with no time on the clock was incredible. We broke the streak of consecutive losses we had and choking in big games. 

To repeat in 2010 was so rare. They all had significant meanings to me and the city of Montreal. It had been 13 years since a team won back to back Grey Cups so that was a huge achievement.

You have had so many unbelievable highlight reel plays in your Hall of Fame career. Which one was the most memorable?

Actually, it wasn’t even a play where I caught the ball. It was in 2007 when I kicked a game-winning field goal against Toronto.

That was crazy because I had never kicked a field goal up until that point in my life, not in high school, college or the CFL.

I was just this holder who would screw around trying to take people’s money betting them I could make a field goal at the end of practice.

Coach came to me and asked what my range was. I had no idea what to tell him. I didn’t know if I was kicking off a block or the ground, and we were just trying to figure that all out on the sidelines during the game.

It turned out to be the game-winner of all things. Not a lot of memories make me smile when I think back but I always chuckle to myself when I think about that one.

Matias Bueno Matias's Final Thoughts

It was super fun to talk with Ben Cahoon about his illustrious career with the Montreal Alouettes. Growing up watching the Alouettes make it to the Grey Cup several times and dominant the CFL for a decade was truly remarkable to witness. Ben’s part in the Alouettes offense was vital to their success along with many of the other great players he played beside. Having been part of the best era in franchise history and being an All-Star every year almost is a rare and admirable feat. He had some legendary catches and did a great job articulating why each of the three Grey Cup victories he was part of were so significant in Montreal Alouettes history. He is hailed as the greatest Canadian receiver in CFL history and for a good reason.

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