Former Alouettes great Ben Cahoon, left, is surrounded by his wife Kim and his four children during a ceremony in Montreal to honour his stellar CFL career. ((Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press))

Retired receiving star Ben Cahoon was honoured with a standing ovation at Percival Molson Stadium on a night when his long-time quarterback Anthony Calvillo made CFL history.

Cahoon got to see the pivot who helped make him the league's all-time leader in receptions set a record with a 395th career touchdown pass.

Calvillo threw most of the 1,017 passes Cahoon caught in 13 CFL seasons.

"He was phenomenal," Cahoon said.

When asked to describe Calvillo's career, he said: "Similar to myself — more consistent than great. but put so many consistent years together and it becomes something special. It's taken longer than it should have for him to get the respect of the country. He's deserving of every award and accolade he's achieved."

A red carpet was rolled out to centre field at halftime where Cahoon, his wife and four daughters watched a highlight reel of his spectacular catches on the stadium scoreboard. It included a pre-recorded tribute from Utah governor Gary Herbert, Cahoon's father-in-law.

He also received his 2010 Grey Cup ring, which the rest of the players got before the season.

Among others, he thanked the team, the fans and general manager Jim Popp for "taking a chance on a short, white guy."

The fans responded with their long-standing Ca-Hoooon chant of his name.

Cahoon, who turns 39 on Saturday, said he has no regrets about retiring after the Alouettes won a second straight Grey Cup last November.

He was quickly hired as receivers coach at his alma mater, Brigham Young University.

Asked if he wished he could have been on the receiving end of Calvillo's record TD toss, Cahoon smiled and said: "Yeah, for one play, as long as it was two-hand touch and not tackle football.

"I don't regret retiring. The time was right."

Cahoon joined the Alouettes the same year as Calvillo in 1998 and they became one of the great passer-receiver combinations in CFL history.

Cahoon was neither tall nor fast, but knew how to get open, had hands of glue and was fearless in catching passes in traffic over the middle.

He was named top Canadian in the CFL in 2002 and 2003 and is the all-time Grey Cup game leader with 47 receptions for 666 yards.

Cahoon was born in Utah of Canadian parents and spent his childhood in various towns in Southern Alberta.

He is all-but certain to be named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame after the three-year waiting period. When he is, the Alouettes are expected to retire his No. 86.