Monthly Archives: April 2021

Eustace Gillanders

eustace gillanders 1922
Eustace Gillanders, May 1922.

EUSTACE DAWSON GILLANDERS
(August 4, 1893 – February 14, 1966)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1913-1915; 1919)
Vancouver Coughlan Shipyards AAA (1918)

Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920; 1921-1923)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1921)

Eustace Gillanders was part of the core, defensive line on the Vancouver Terminals consisting of Bay Carter, Everett McLaren, Harry ‘Fat’ Painter, goaltender Jake Davis, and Gillanders himself, all who had previously combined to form the back-half of the Vancouver Athletic Club amateur dynasty in the decade prior and had made the move to the professionals in the early 1920s.

Eustace Dawson Gillanders was born in 1893 in Sapperton, New Westminster. His parents were Wesley Clark Gillanders and Arabella Holmes of Chilliwack. His father was from near Peterbourough, Ontario and had moved west around 1873-1874 at the age of 18, settling in Chilliwack with his mother, brothers, and sisters, all who had accompanied him to British Columbia by way of San Francisco, California. There his father Wesley met Eustace’s mother Arabella, a schoolteacher. The young couple married and lived on their pre-emption which was located between Chilliwack and Rosedale. Then at some point prior to Eustace’s birth in 1893, his parents moved to New Westminster to care for Arabella’s aging parents. In 1910, the family moved again, this time to Vancouver.

Gillanders started playing lacrosse at the age of 11, with one newspaper article stating that he had moved to the West End of Vancouver at a very young age. The same article mentions that during one of his early attempts at the sport, he smashed a window and frightened several youths who had to scurry for cover. With roots in two lacrosse-playing communities, he played junior lacrosse for Sapperton and then played defensive point for the Vancouver Olympics in 1912 when he moved up to the intermediate ranks.

He turned senior in 1913 with the powerhouse Vancouver Athletic Club team during their Mann Cup dynasty run prior to the First World War – however he remained a senior and did not play when the Athletics challenged for the Minto Cup in 1913. His first season after the First World War saw him win another Mann Cup title in 1918 – this time with the Vancouver Coughlans Shipyards Amateur Athletic Association team who pushed aside the New Westminster Salmonbellies, North Vancouver Squamish Indians, and Winnipeg Argonauts on their run of 7 win and 2 ties.

On June 3, 1916 Eustace Gillanders married Gertrude Oglivie Marsh. They would have four children: Kenneth, Gordon, Marguerite, and an unnamed child who probably died at birth.

At the start of the 1919 campaign, he rejoined the Vancouver Athletic Club when the team reformed in the Pacific Coast Amateur Lacrosse Association after a three-year absence due to the war. Gillanders was elected team captain by his team-mates and was generally regarded as the best player on the roster. However, with VAC fielding a weak squad and suffering through poor results, Gillanders was convinced to turn professional around July 30, 1919 – a “bombshell” signing according to the Vancouver Province. The Vancouver Terminals had been in serious need of reinforcements for two to three weeks prior due to injuries and suspensions, and with newly-permitted substitutions now requiring more bodies to be carried by the team, the pro outfit had earlier tried to sign the Winged V star but to no avail.

Playing most of his professional career as a defensive midfielder in the first defence position, he made a great impact in Vancouver’s own end of the field, being dubbed a year later by the Terminals team manager Harry Pickering as the “find of the season”.

eustace gillanders 1923
Eustace Gillanders, 1923.

1921 would prove to be a career production year on the field for the first defenceman. He started the season by signing up with Con Jones’s rival Vancouver team in the upstart Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. Never a serious goal-scoring threat around the net, it would be during the league’s fifth and final match on June 11 that he would bag his only career hat-trick. After scoring Vancouver’s second goal of the match to even the score line 2-2 at the end of the first half, Victoria Capitals then built up a 5-3 lead over the next two quarters. Heading into the final stanza, Vancouver had pulled to within 1 goal, when Eustace Gillanders scored a minute later to tie the game, and then the game-winning goal a minute after that for Vancouver’s 6-5 win. The league would fold two days later. Gillanders then re-joined his old Terminals team and score another 2 goals. In all, he had 7 goals to his name for the year – out of the 11 total he would score during his five-year professional career.

Around September 1922, he was sidelined due to a bad case of appendicitis and missed games late in the season.

Eustace Gillanders’s final season as a player took place in 1923. It is unknown why he did not return the following year but it may have been due to work. He left the professional game with 68 games, 11 goals, and a lone assist to his credit, along with 21 penalties totaling 102 minutes watching from the sin bin.

Three years later in 1926 he would be involved, either as the coach or the manager (or both), with the Ocean Falls Amateur Athletic Association lacrosse team. Gillanders was a working resident of the company town, the site of the largest pulp and paper mill in British Columbia. That year saw a large contingent of former New Westminster lacrosse players gain employment there, so a lacrosse team was organised. It is unknown if the Ocean Falls AAA team played any league games, but they challenged the Richmond Farmers, champions of the Vancouver & District League, for the Kilmarnock Cup, the senior provincial championship trophy of British Columbia. The first game of the two-game total-goals series ended in a 6-6 draw, followed by a close 3-2 win for Ocean Falls. They then moved on to the Western Canada finals, where Ocean Falls won their first game over the Winnipeg Tammany Tigers 6-5 but then lost the second game 8-6 – missing out moving on to the Mann Cup finals by 1 goal, 13-12.

Eustace Gillanders passed away at home in “North Surrey, Delta” (according to his death certificate), his place of residence for the last two years of his life. His house was located at 11946 – 80th Avenue, which is now the site of a commercial office building in the Kennedy Heights area along the Surrey-North Delta border. He had worked as a pipe fitter, for 35 years, retiring the year prior to his passing. Gillanders was cremated with a memorial at Ocean View Cemetery in Burnaby, British Columbia.

(PHOTO SOURCE: Vancouver Sun May 21, 1922; Vancouver Province April 7, 1923)