Forgotten beginnings 1882-1886

1882–1886 …Forgotten beginnings

The first formal, ‘organised’ lacrosse game played in British Columbia (between teams representing two different cities) occurred on Saturday, August 28, 1886. Played at Beacon Hill Park between the Vancouver and Victoria clubs, the visiting mainlanders won by the score of 3-1 – or three “games” to one, in the old-style nomenclature used at the time.

For historical trivia sake: the first ever “goal” (game) was scored by the Vancouver coverpoint player, J. McNamee at 22:00 minutes into the match. McNamee ended up scoring all three goals for his team while outside home D.W. Morrow scored the lone Victoria tally.

Quite possibly the earliest lacrosse match in British Columbia - Daily British Colonist, June 18, 1882
Quite possibly the earliest lacrosse match in British Columbia – Daily British Colonist, June 18, 1882

However, while this particular match has gone into the history books as the first lacrosse game played in the province, the game’s roots in British Columbia actually go back by four years to 1882.

On Thursday, February 16 of that year, an athletic club was organised in Victoria that included lacrosse as one of its sports. This was then followed by a highly-publicised match played at Beacon Hill Park on Saturday afternoon, June 17, 1882 although it was essentially a scrimmage game between two teams made up from the mostly-inexperienced players of the Victoria Athletic Club. For reasons unknown, the club was reported (or misreported) in the newspaper as the “Vancouver Athletic Club” – possibly in reference to Vancouver Island, on which Victoria is located – as “Vancouver”, the modern city, was four years away from existing as a civic geographical reference in British Columbia.

Other historical fragments from these early years include newspaper records of a match played in Victoria a few weeks later involving an unidentified collegiate team – as well as a photograph in the British Columbia provincial archives dated from 1883, taken in Victoria, of an unidentified lacrosse team in that city.

4 thoughts on “Forgotten beginnings 1882-1886

  1. To whom it may concern,

    My wife and I are trying to assign value to an item that has been in her family for over a hundred years. She also has a team photo-graph (obviously not shown here). It’s a medal from the 1911 Mann cup. I can’t seem to find it referenced anywhere that they even exist.

    The front says, “Worlds Amateur Champions”
    The back says, Mann Cup, Toronto, 1911, Fred Matheson

    Can you help us out?

    1. Medals back then were somewhat common. After teams won championships, the club owners would often get medals or fancy watches, etc. made up to give to the players. I am not an appraiser so cannot give any information on what the intrinsic value would be. While on one hand it could be considered valuable, there is such a niche market for items like this that there is not a huge demand for them to assign any value. I have seen lacrosse (and other sports) medals appearing on auction sites but usually the auctioneer is asking for an unreasonable or overinflated asking price – so don’t use auction sites as a means to figure out value.

    1. I cannot give you any information on the ring itself apart from it being common for teams back then to have all sorts of jewellery, medallions, and mementos made in celebration and remembrance of championship they won.

      The Montréal Shamrocks originated in 1867 and were members of the National Lacrosse Union until 1920 when they folded on July 3, 1920 (they went by the name Montréal Irish-Canadians in 1918).

      They were one of the most dominant teams – if not the most dominant – in Canadian lacrosse from around 1870 to 1908. Their dynasty years were from 1901 to 1908 when they held the Minto Cup for 6 of those years but they also had periods of dominance during the early 1870s, in the 1880s and 1890s.

      In 1894, they won the NLU league with an 8-0 record, defeating the Ottawa Capitals, Montréal Amateur Athletic Association, Cornwall Colts, and Toronto Lacrosse Club in the process.

      Your best bet to find information about the 1894 team would be to look through the Montréal Gazette newspaper online archives located at

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