Monthly Archives: June 2016

Harry ‘Fat’ Painter

Harry Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1912.
Harry Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1912.

HARRY JOHN ‘FAT’ PAINTER
(February 10, 1890 – August 5, 1940)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1911; 1913)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920; 1921-1924)

Harry ‘Fat’ Painter was a defensive mainstay for Vancouver lacrosse teams for 10 seasons. He broke into the professional game when the Vancouver Athletic Club, three-time Mann Cup champions, made their jump from the senior amateurs to challenge New Westminster Salmonbellies for the Minto Cup in 1913. His usual playing spot was at point although he did fill in at coverpoint and first defence for parts of a few seasons.

After the demise of the Vancouver Athletics, Con Jones signed him in 1915 for his resurrected Vancouver Lacrosse Club. Like all lacrosse players in British Columbia, he was inactive in 1916 and 1917 when organised play in the province was suspended due to the Great War.

He played a couple games for Vancouver during the 1918 revival involving the Mainland Lacrosse Association before becoming a fixture on the Vancouver Terminals from 1919 until the end of the professional game in 1924. In 1921, ‘Fat’ Painter was part of the Vancouver player exodus who followed Con Jones into his short-lived, rival Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. Painter would return to the Terminals for a couple of games in 1921 and then resume on a full-time basis with them a year later in July 1922.

‘Fat’ Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1913.
‘Fat’ Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1913.

His younger brother, Joseph Painter, a midfielder, became a team-mate of his with the PCLA’s Vancouver Lacrosse Club in 1921 and then followed him over to the Terminals in 1922.

‘Fat’ Painter played in 81 professional games for the various teams that represented Vancouver in professional lacrosse and Minto Cup play. He never scored any goals but chalked up 28 penalties and 155 in penalty minutes.

His father, HJ Painter, had been the city assessor in Vancouver. Harry Painter attended Fairview and King Edward high-schools in his youth and later attended the University of British Columbia. As a sixteen year-old he played lacrosse for a Fairview team in what was most likely a local, Vancouver junior league.

Harry Painter passed away suddenly on August 5, 1940 when he was found dead at his home by his brother-in-law. At the time of his death, he had been working as acting assistant superintendent at the post office, his employer for 29 years. He was survived by his wife and two children, William and Daphne.

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA 99-1019 excerpt; CVA 99-31 excerpt)

Charlie ‘Smiler’ McCuaig

Charlie McCuaig in 1912.
Charlie McCuaig in 1912.

CHARLES (CHARLIE) H. ‘SMILER’ McCUAIG
(
born ca. 1887 – deceased)
Vancouver Athletic Club (1907; 1910-1913)
Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs (1908-1909)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919; 1922)
Long Beach (1924)

One of the many now-forgotten Vancouver lacrosse players who plied their trade in the post-Great War professional game, Charlie ‘Smiler’ McCuaig played in 55 games over 7 seasons with an assortment of Vancouver teams in the British Columbia Lacrosse Association, Mainland Lacrosse Association, and Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. He was born in Boissevain, Manitoba, located on the Canadian border with North Dakota, around 1887.

Prior to turning professional, he played at the senior amateur level for the Mann Cup champion Vancouver Athletic Club for three seasons from 1910 through to 1912. McCuaig seems to be have been absent from the 1913 Mann Cup team (or at least absent from the club’s portrait-collage photograph commemorating their three Mann Cup titles) even though he was a member of the squad that challenged the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the professional Minto Cup in 1913. Prior to his time with the VAC dynasty team, he had actually debuted with the VAC intermediate team in 1907 and then played two seasons of intermediate lacrosse with the Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs in 1908 and 1909.

He was a defensive midfielder who could also cover the coverpoint and point defensive positions when required. He scored 5 goals and had 12 penalties for 77 penalty minutes to his name. There is not much press about Charlie McCuaig, except about getting beaten flatfooted by speedster ‘Pat’ Feeney in one match in the early-1920s. Another article, from May 1915 in the Vancouver Daily World, mentioned that McCuaig and fellow teammate Everett McLaren were in Kansas City and on their way back to re-join the Vancouver team for the 1915 season – their business for being in Kansas City is completely unknown. McCuaig would return to Kansas City for further employment 1920.

In the last week of October 1918, various national newspapers such as the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, and Victoria Daily Colonist reprinted a story out of Vancouver that he was “critically ill with double pneumonia and not expected to survive”. Whether such sensationalism was warranted or not is unknown, but McCuaig had recovered in time to be included on the first roster drafted by the new Vancouver Terminals outfit organised on May 19, 1919.

Charlie McCuaig as an intermediate player with the Vancouver Maple Leafs in 1908.

Charlie McCuaig was replaced by former Vancouver Athletic Club team-mate Eustace Gillanders in 1920 when unknown work “making good money way down in Kansas City” with a “good position there” made him reluctant to return to Vancouver for the season. Later that year he then found himself in Colorado with another lucrative job there.

He returned the following year to play for Con Jones’s Vancouver entry in his brand-new Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. When the PCLA folded a month or so later after 5 games played in its schedule, McCuaig found himself sitting on the sidelines.

McCuaig was picked up by the Vancouver Terminals for the 1922 season when defensive spots opened up with the retirement of the legendary Johnny Howard and the departure of Eastern import D. Langevin. By the following season, Everett McLaren had been moved back to his comfortable place at coverpoint after a one-season sojourn spent playing in the midfield and ‘Smiler’ McCuaig departed the professional scene for good.

Charlie McCuaig appeared in a team photo for a match played in California with the Long Beach team on March 30, 1924. Former New Westminster star Tom Rennie was also a member of the Long Beach squad which faced the California Canadian team from Los Angeles.

What Charlie McCuaig did when his lacrosse days were over, as well as when he passed away, is unknown – however a July 1953 article printed in the Vancouver Sun mentions that one of the old trainers for the Vancouver Athletic Club, Billy Grant, had met up with ‘Smiler’ while visiting Los Angeles.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 99-1019 excerpt; CLHOF collection)

The Earliest Lacrosse Action Photograph?

first lacrosse photo
This photograph, in the collection of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, was apparently taken of a lacrosse game in action, played in Montréal, Québec in August 1864 – and as you can read, the caption claims it was the “first instantaneous snapshot ever taken”.

It is unknown whether the description implies it was the first-ever snapshot in photographic history – or just the first-ever photograph of a lacrosse game. On the back of the photo is the signature of AE Macnaughton (d.1937), who seems to be describing and verifying the nature of the print and its date. The author of Old School Lacrosse has frequently come across Archie Macnaughton’s name in his research from the 1890s to 1920s, a well-known individual involved in the game – first as a player in the 1890s for the Victoria Lacrosse Club and then later as manager of the Vancouver Lacrosse Club, as well as a referee and an association executive.

It is suspected the print copy in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame collection is a re-print that dates from before the 1930s and certainly not an original print from the 1860s.

However, based on what little the author knows of photography history, there are some serious doubts whether this photo actually does date from 1864.

The clearness and lack of blur of the players in motion in the image is unusual for photography of the era. The earliest snapshot cameras did not come along until 1888 with the introduction of the Kodak No.1 camera. The next latest occurrence of actions shots of lacrosse matches does not happen until the first five or so years of the 1900s.

Therefore, Old School Lacrosse suspects the photograph’s origins are likely three decades later, say 1880-1890s range. Perhaps 1864 is a typographical or lapse of memory error for 1894?

(PHOTO SOURCE: CLHOF X994.29(1))