(born ca. 1887 – possibly December 23, 1967 ?)
Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs (ca.1907-1908)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1909-1910; 1912-1913)
North Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1911)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1911; 1918)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1921)
Inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965 as a charter member in the field player category, Ernie Murray played 10 seasons of professional ball between 1909 and 1921.
Like many local home-brew Vancouver players from that era, no personal information is now known about him outside of the game. He played senior lacrosse in 1907 and 1908 for the Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs, alongside three of his four lacrosse-playing brothers. Con Jones would then sign “the speedy little home fielder” in 1909 for his Vancouver Lacrosse Club team when the professionals first became organised as a league under the British Columbia Lacrosse Association name that year.
In November 1907, he was suspended by the Canadian Amateur Athletic Union after travelling to California with the Vancouver Athletic Club rugby team for a match being played there versus McGill University. There appears to have been some protest made by McGill University regarding his playing status which would affect the collegians’ own playing status, so Murray chose instead to watch from the grandstands.
The majority of his lacrosse playing career was with the various Vancouver teams, although he did bolt to the New Westminster Salmobellies for the 1911 season after having a disagreement with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club president and money man, Con Jones.
Ernie Murray was one of a group of four local Vancouver players (along with goalkeeper Dave Gibbons, George Matheson, and ‘Toots’ Clarkson) who quit the team in early June 1910 after they went to Jones with demands for more money. With the Eastern imports that season earning $50 per week, the four upshots ‘held up Jones’ for more pay because they were only getting half that amount per week – but felt they were doing the lion’s share of the hard work while the imports reaped all the benefits.
Despite the hold-outs having a lot of sympathy from the local fans, Con Jones refused their demand of $40 per week. Along with Gibbons and Clarkson, Ernie Murray quit the team for the rest of the season while Matheson eventually caved in and re-joined the team in August. The following year, the cross-town rivals New Westminster Salmonbellies would approach Murray and sign him for one season – before seemingly making amends with Con Jones in time for the 1912 campaign and returning to the greenshirts.
When the Vancouver Lacrosse Club folded mid-season in July 1913, Ernie Murray found himself once again embroiled in a wage dispute with Con Jones. His November 1913 lawsuit filed against Jones was dismissed in county court after Murray tried to sue Jones for $650 which he alleged remained from a $1,000 contract. The judge ruled in Con Jones’s favour, as Jones stated he had promised $50 per week so long as play continued and had not guaranteed any contracts for 20 weeks of salary, as Murray claimed, due to uncertainly whether the 1913 season would be completed.
Ernie Murray would later get picked up by the replacement Vancouver Athletics in 1914. He would return to New Westminster in 1918 when ‘Grumpy’ Spring signed him to the Salmonbellies for the Mainland Lacrosse Association season.
Ernie Murray played in the midfield zone usually at third home or second home, occasionally slotted as the centreman. In 1920, he was primarily used in a substitute role, while the following season, his last as a player, he found himself moved up on the attack as the outside home, a position he had played back in his senior days with the Maple Leafs. His final season saw him in the role of player-manager for Vancouver in Con Jones’s rival Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association outfit. When that league folded in mid-season on June 13, 1921, after 5 games, Murray packed in his playing career.
He appeared in 69 professional games, scoring 31 goals – which places him 17th in career scoring for players during the pro field era.
(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA 99-43)