ANGUS DUNCAN HARDEN ‘ANGIE’ McDONALD
(February 4, 1897-1998)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1921; 1921-1924)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1921)
A star ‘home’ midfielder for Vancouver during the post-Great War period, ‘Angie’ had his roots in Eburne, a now-vanished community that was located on modern Sea Island in Richmond. His family hailing from Glengarry in Scotland, McDonald grew up on a 400-acre farm on the island which is now home to Vancouver International Airport.
As a youngster, he played intermediate lacrosse in the Vancouver Amateur Lacrosse Association with his local Eburne Lacrosse Club in 1912 and then won intermediate city championship with the Vancouver Olympics in 1914.
His professional debut saw him enter the game as a substitute goalkeeper for the injured Dave Gibbons. ‘Angie’ McDonald only played in 6 pro seasons, but his 60 goals and 65 points in 60 games is good enough to place him ninth in all-time career scoring on the Coast and third overall for all Vancouver players.
McDonald almost abandoned playing lacrosse after his first season as he was contemplating a move north, but the speedy midfielder had a change of heart after being convinced by team officials to remain in town and re-sign with Vancouver.
In 1921, he bolted for Con Jones’ rebel Vancouver entry in the short-lived Pacific Coast Association and found himself leading the league scoring race with his 11 goals – but when that league folded after just 5 games, he soon found his way back to his old Vancouver team in the British Columbia Association.
His playing career would take a 10 year hiatus after the professional game died in 1924. Reinstated as an amateur in 1934, McDonald played three seasons of box lacrosse in the Inter-City Lacrosse League from 1934 to 1936. His first season was spent with the St. Helen’s Hotel team in Vancouver, which then relocated to McDonald’s hometown of Richmond in 1935 to become the Farmers.
His greatest personal heroics as player occurred in these twilight years now as a box lacrosse player. On July 17, 1934, with his St. Helen’s behind by three goals, 37-year-old ‘Angie’ led an incredible comeback in the final minute and a quarter of play when he laced passes off successive draws to set-up three goals over a 39-second span to equalise the score – with his young teammate Doc Nicoll bagging the game-winner with 5 seconds to spare.
1935 would see the Richmond Farmers reach the Mann Cup finals versus Orillia Terriers. After brushing aside the North Shore Indians and Trail Smoke Eaters, the Farmers finally met their match as they were swept in three games by the Terriers – who were in the middle of their three year domination of the Mann Cup. ‘Angie’ would appear in a total of 59 regular season and playoff games, scoring 108 goals and assists for 149 career points in box lacrosse.
Outside of lacrosse, McDonald held down jobs in the shipyards and construction trades. He was trained as a pilot in Toronto for six months during the Second World War but never saw any combat action. His only other serious personal interest was Bible scripture study and he wrote a number of books on the topic despite admitting he had little time for organised religion; he wrote for interest alone and not publication. He got married when he was 62. Eight years later the couple moved to Kelowna.
Angus McDonald was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1968.
McDonald lived to see his one-hundredth birthday in 1997 and the still-alert former lacrosse star was interviewed by a Kelowna newspaper for the special occasion. He passed away the following year, some 74 years after the last game in the British Columbia Association professional league was played.
‘Angie’ McDonald was almost certainly the last remaining participant from the 1909-1924 golden age of professional lacrosse in British Columbia – and most fittingly, he scored the last goal ever in the last pro game ever. On Saturday, May 31, 1924, at Con Jones Park, McDonald scored an unassisted goal 14 minutes and 54 seconds into the fourth quarter for Vancouver, their fourth and ultimately final goal in all sense, in their losing 6-4 effort against New Westminster.
He literally wrote and then personally signed off the last chapter written for his playing era.
(PHOTO CLHOF X994.80; CLHOF X994.156)
Special thanks to the City of Richmond Archives for providing biographical information.