ARCHIBALD EDWARD (ARCHIE) MACNAUGHTON
(July 26, 1864 – ca. July 13, 1937)
Montréal Amateur Athletic Association (1882-1891)
Victoria Lacrosse Club (1892-1893)
Victoria Capitals (1894)
Victoria Triangles (1895)
Archie Macnaughton (his surname has appeared spelt variously as McNaughton, MacNaughton, and Macnaughton) is an interesting figure in the very early days of the sport in Canada. While he never played in the professional ranks, he was one of lacrosse’s early star players in Montréal – as well as a pioneering figure in the establishment of the game on the Pacific Coast and the rise of the Victoria senior teams in the mid-1890s.
He was born to Archibald and Catherine Macnaughton in Lachine, Québec. His Scottish ancestry may possibly be linked to an old family in Glenlyon, Scotland as there is mention made of an Archibald McNaughton (possibly his father) in the church records at Scotch Presbyterian Church in Montréal, who was born in Callendar, Scotland but grew up near Saint-Eustache in suburban Montréal. However, “Archibald McNaughton” does appear as a name occurring sporadically in early Montréal and could quite easily refer to multiple, unrelated people with the same name.
Archie Macnaughton helped Montréal win a junior championship in 1881 and then turned senior the following year. He was widely regarded as one of the best home fielders (attack midfielders in modern language) and one of the fastest sprinters to play the game in his day, with phenomenal speed. He possessed a deadly and dangerous shot, usually taken on a dead run and the ball’s velocity was reported to be stronger in force than that of a baseball player fielding the ball home.
He was the fourth-best goal scorer in the 1886 National Lacrosse Union season with 7 goals in 10 games for the Montréal Amateur Athletic Association. The following season however he was held scoreless in 7 games played. In 1888, Montréal AAA dropped out of the NLU and the league barely staggered to the finish. When Montréal AAA returned to the NLU in 1889, they lost Macnaughton to a twisted ankle in the pre-season. On his return to play, after missing two matches, he still managed to make up for goals to finish second in league scoring with 8 goals in 6 matches.
His final season with Montréal Amateur Athletic Association saw him playing the role of Atlas, shouldering the team’s goal-scoring in the wake of the retirements of Tom Paton and W. Hodgson, the two other leading players with the ‘Winged Wheelers’. He once again finished in second-place for goals with 8 scored in 8 games. Montréal AAA would once again drop out of the National Lacrosse Union in 1891.
He moved to the Pacific Coast in 1892 and joined the Victoria Lacrosse Club. He played in 3 matches that year, held scoreless in his first two appearances and then scoring 3 goals in his third outing for Victoria. He also refereed two senior league games that same season.
Archie Macnaughton married Miss Jean Esther Marie Bishop, a resident of Montréal who was born in Covingston, Kentucky, in a ceremony held at First Presbyterian Church in Vancouver on August 11, 1892. The newlyweds left Vancouver that same day and took up residence in Victoria. Prior to his relocation on the coast, he had commenced his business career in Montréal in 1878.
In 1893, as a member of the Victoria club, he helped lead the Capital City crew in victory over his former team, the Montréal Amateur Athletic Association, 6-0 during their tour of the Eastern clubs. The team’s return to their home town that October was met by the city band and a midnight reception which followed at the Driard Hotel. During the senior league season that year, he played in 6 matches and scored 3 goals.
Archie Macnaughton had his best campaign for Victoria in 1894, when he scored 11 goals in 10 matches – finishing off the regular season by scoring 5 of Victoria Capitals’ 6 goals in their rout over Vancouver Lacrosse Club on September 29, 1894. He then bagged another 2 goals in the Capitals’ playoff match played at Brockton Point the following month versus New Westminster. That playoff meeting ended in dispute as Victoria was leading the championship game 3 goals to 2 when the game was called due to darkness. Claiming the championship, the Victoria Capitals then withdrew from the British Columbia Amateur Lacrosse Association on November 2, 1894 in protest of referee indecision in the playoff game and due to New Westminster arriving at Brockton Point an hour and a half late which resulted in the late start.
Macnaughton made only a single appearance for the Victoria Triangles in the 1895 season, which saw him scrape through Victoria’s fifth goal in a 6-2 rout over Vancouver to close out the final game of the season. In 1896, he moved to Vancouver where he continued his brokerage business.
Lacrosse was not the only athletic pastime which he excelled at. He played ice hockey for Montréal Amateur Athletic Association of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada from 1887 to 1892, appearing in 19 games and scoring 21 goals. Macnaughton was the leading goal scorer in the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada in 1890. He was noted as the ‘all-round snowshoe champion of Canada’ for 1886-1890 as well as holding eight middle-weight amateur boxing championships of Canada.
Macnaughton was a member of the Montréal Garrison Artillery which participated in the suppression of the North-West Rebellion in 1885. The Montréal Gazette called him one of three “crack snowshoers” who were welcomed home by club members after the rebellion ended.
In 1888 he had to testify in a libel lawsuit which involved accusations of lacrosse players match-fixing a game.
In the first week of April 1894, he was part of a British Columbia ‘Mainland’ team that traveled to San Francisco, California to participate in exhibition matches versus a British Columbia ‘Island’ team as well as a San Francisco team a few days later. These were the first lacrosse games played in that city and attracted considerable attention from the locals.
Archie Macnaughton managed the New Westminster Salmonbellies in 1900 and he took his team back east on tour. He was later the manager of the Vancouver Lacrosse Club in 1908 and 1910.
His sudden passing was reported in the July 13, 1937 edition of the Victoria Daily Colonist but no exact date was given and the location of his burial is unknown.
(PHOTO SOURCES: provided by Eric Zweig; CLHOF X994.1 excerpt; CLHOF X994.15 excerpt; CLHOF X994.29 excerpt)