All posts by Old Boot Dave

“Lacrosse: A Nation’s Game” documentary

Between January 29 and February 28, 2018, the Canadian cable and satellite television channel Super Channel will be broadcasting the new documentary Lacrosse: A Nation’s Game.

“Featuring interviews with faithkeepers, stick makers, coaches, and historians, and full of beautiful archive photos and video, Lacrosse: A Nation’s Game details the rich history of lacrosse in Canada from its Indigenous origins to the 150th anniversary celebration of the sport in 2017.”

One of the historians interviewed during the production is the author of Old School Lacrosse – as director of acquisitions and archives, he provided access to the museum site, photographs, and behind the scenes at the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Click on the link above for more information on the broadcast schedule and how to view this documentary. Click here to view the trailer.

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Bill Turnbull

Bill Turnbull, May 1911

WILLIAM (BILL) INNES TURNBULL
(February 1, 1886 – August 4, 1933)

New Westminster Salmonbellies (1906-1915)

The older brother of Canadian lacrosse hall-of-famer Len Turnbull, Bill Turnbull was born in New Westminster, British Columbia on February 1, 1886 to William, Snr. and Jessie Turnbull.

Both brothers joined the New Westminster senior team in the 1906 season. While Len played up front as a scoring threat on the crease, ‘Long Bill’ was almost always found slotted in as the third-home, an offensive-minded midfield position who would have supported the centreman and been involved in the loose-ball battles for possession after the draw. In the 1909 campaign, Bill Turnbull filled in as the Salmonbellies’ centreman for half the season while ‘Pat’ Feeney was forced to sit out due to rheumatism. During the course of his seven professional seasons with the Salmonbellies, between 1909 and 1915, Turnbull appeared in 75 games and scored 66 goals.

When looking at his career numbers, Bill Turnbull is ranked eighth overall for goals, ninth for penalties, and fourth for penalty minutes. His 324 minutes spent ‘sent to the fence’ are inflated by two games where he chalked up around an hour each game due to fighting and expulsions – otherwise by and large he never had the reputation of being a particularly dirty or nasty player. His best seasons were the two shortened campaigns in 1913 and 1914 when he finished 2nd and 1st respectively in goal-scoring for the Salmonbellies.

Bill Turnbull was reported in the Ottawa Citizen to have moved to the Cariboo region of British Columbia but returned to New Westminster in May 1913 after having previously considered a permanent move there.

Bill Turnbull, one of the best pro midfielders from 1909 to 1915.

Like his brother Len, Bill Turnbull served in the armed forces during the Great War. He enlisted in the 131st Battalion and went overseas to England. He soon transferred to the transports and was sent over to France. After the conclusion of the war, unlike Len, however, Bill did not return to the playing field. July 10, 1915 was the date of his final lacrosse match – finishing on the sidelines after he was given an early boot by the referee in the fourth quarter for fighting. He would then be absent from the last four remaining games of the 1915 season, probably due to enlistment commitments.

Outside of lacrosse, Turnbull held down a wide assortment of jobs for employment. He worked for the Canadian Customs Service in Abbotsford. After his resignation, he then went into farming. He also worked as a cashier for the Vancouver Harbour Board at Ballantyne Pier and later entered the insurance business as an agent for Travelers’ Insurance Company. Prior to his illness, which caused him to stop working, he held interest in a peat company in Pitt Meadows. Bill was married to Jean Turnbull but there is no record or mention of the couple having any children.

Bill Turnbull passed away at the age of 47, from stomach cancer, after three weeks spent at Royal Columbian Hospital. He had been seriously ill for around six months prior to his admittance. He was interred at the family plot at the International Order of Old Fellows cemetery within Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster, British Columbia.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 99-41; IHP1182)

Len Turnbull

Len Turnbull, May 1911

LEONARD (LEN) TURNBULL
(May 31, 1889 – March 7, 1952)

New Westminster Salmonbellies (1906-1913; 1915; 1918-1919; 1921-1923)
Toronto Lacrosse Club (1914)

The Turnbull brothers of New Westminster, Len and Bill, were two of the best offensive players of their day. The younger of the brothers, Leonard Turnbull was born on May 31, 1889. He grew up at the family residence at 1112 Sixth Avenue in New Westminster and was still living there at the time of the 1901 census. His parents were William and Jessie Turnbull. Apart from his brother Bill, he had no other siblings besides an older sister named Tryphina.

Although both his parents were born in England, the family was of Scottish descent. On his mother’s side, Len was a grandson of New Westminster pioneers Sergeant-Major John McMurphy and his wife, who arrived in 1858 with the rest of the Royal Engineers when the townsite was founded and built. Despite the shared surname, Len and Bill Turnbull had no family relationship whatsoever with their New Westminster teammate Alex Turnbull, whose origins were in Ontario.

Len Turnbull, the Salmonbellies’ best scorer after the Spring Brothers.

Len Turnbull played two seasons of intermediate lacrosse with the New Westminster West Ends before graduating to the senior squad in 1906. Starting in 1909, Len Turnbull would play 11 seasons of professional ball for the Salmonbellies, clocking up 105 appearances and bagging an even 100 goals for the redshirts.

His role on Salmonbellies team was the outside home position on the attacking line – paired up with the great ‘Grumpy’ Spring for most of his career until Spring’s retirement after the 1921 season. In his last two seasons of play, he usually found himself alongside Thure Storme whenever the injury-prone Scandinavian was healthy. For reasons unknown, Len was sometimes nicknamed the ‘Old Tulip’.

In October 1910, the two brothers both visited Spokane, Washington – their names well-known enough as lacrosse stars for their presence in the city to garner specific mention in the local newspaper.

Len Turnbull signed a contract with the Toronto Lacrosse Club in 1912 along with fellow teammates Cliff Spring and ‘Buck’ Marshall but then renegaded and handed back the advance money after Toronto’s failure to also sign Gordon Spring and Bill Fitzgerald – which was apparently part of the agreement. Cliff Spring and Len Turnbull finally did sign and play for Toronto of the Dominion Lacrosse Union in 1914, scoring 23 goals in 18 games in his lone season not wearing New Westminster colours.

Len Turnbull unsuccessful in beating ‘Bun’ Clark at Recreation Park in Vancouver, ca.1910-11

Turnbull was in the military at some time during the Great War but his length and nature of service is otherwise unknown.

In assessing his career numbers, he ranks eighth overall for number of games played during the professional era in British Columbia and fifth overall for goals scored. His 100 goals make him one of only five players who matched or surpassed the century mark during the Coast’s professional years and the third-highest goal-scorer for New Westminster after the two Spring brothers. His best campaign for goal production occurred in 1910 when he tied his linemate Gordon Spring with 22 goals.

Especially during the post-war ‘comeback’ part of his career, he was an impeccably clean player and accumulated only 19 penalties and 112 minutes to his name throughout his pro career. He was only one of two players who played a decade or more of professional ball under his belt on the Pacific Coast and didn’t finish in the top-twenty for penalty infractions and minutes.

The bulk of his pro career was compacted into 8 seasons – as he only played 4 games in parts of 3 years between 1915 and 1919, as well as completely missing out the 1920 season. However, from start to finish and adding his three seasons of senior ball with New Westminster prior to professionalization on the Coast, along with his season playing back east, in total Len Turnbull’s stellar lacrosse career spanned across 15 seasons played out over 18 years.

Teammate ‘Grumpy’ Spring celebrates as Len Turnbull puts the ball past ‘Bun’ Clark at Queens Park, ca.1910-11

At the time of his brother Bill’s untimely passing in 1933, he was residing in Penticton, British Columbia.

Len Turnbull worked as a mail clerk for the Pacific Great Eastern railroad. He retired at age 60, two years before he passed away in 1952 at his home on Old Yale Road in Surrey, British Columbia from carcinoma of the colon.

At the time of his death, he was a widower, and, according to funeral records, it appears he had no living next of kin besides his sister Tryphina Olmstead and a cousin. Len Turnball was interred in the International Order of Old Fellows cemetery section located within the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster, British Columbia. At his funeral, which was reported by the local press to have been well-attended, two of his old teammates from his glory days, Jim Gifford and George Rennie, were his pallbearers.

In 1971, Leonard Turnbull was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in the Field Player category.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 99-41; NWMA IHP1183; CVA 371-607; CVA 371-58)

Canadian Lacrosse Almanac 2018 Edition

Click this link to view and download: CANADIAN LACROSSE ALMANAC 1867-2018

First compiled in 2002 as a 102-page softcover book with a print-run of 200 copies, the Canadian Lacrosse Almanac was inspired by Jim Hendy and his pioneering work The Hockey Guide which first hit the shelves in 1933 and remained in yearly production until 1951.

The almanac’s initial focus was primarily on the statistical history of British Columbia lacrosse leagues – namely, annual league standings along with post-season play. It was the first publication to research and examine the pre-1932 era in British Columbia which until that time had never been documented at a statistical level.

Over time, further research uncovered new data and new material was made available to the author. Cost and production issues made the author switch from a print format to releasing it in a PDF format – made available for free – when he completed a second edition in 2005.

With the current 2018 edition now at 647 pages (with 55 more pages of new content compared to the 2017 edition), the almanac has expanded to cover the rest of Canada as well as American NCAA collegiate, professional leagues, international competitions, and foreign domestic leagues where information is available.

Ed ‘Cotton’ Brynjolfson

‘Cotton’ Brynjolfson (right) and Vancouver manager Con Jones in 1915.

EDWARD (ED) ‘COTTON’ BRYNJOLFSON
(March 11, 1891 – April 17, 1967)

Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)

Born as Eggert Thorarini but known to all as ‘Cotton’, Ed Brynjolfson was regarded as the best known and most talented lacrosse player originating from Victoria in the pre-box lacrosse era – his fellow Icelander teammate ‘Boss’ Johnson perhaps the only other Island player from that era who could challenge him for ability and fame in the game.

‘Cotton’ generally played third defense (a midfield position) where he would set up many of his team’s offensive plays. During his short professional career, however, he was usually slotted into the inside home position on the attack as a replacement for ‘Newsy’ Lalonde. When Lalonde returned to the Coast in 1918 to play with Vancouver, ‘Cotton’ shifted back to his familiar place on the midfield defense.

In his brief career as a professional, ‘Cotton’ Brynjolfson played in 21 matches for Vancouver over the course of three seasons. He scored 12 goals, good enough for a midfielder but not particularly high numbers for his role as a crease attackman. In just one game did he manage to score a pair of goals.

It is intriguing why a rookie, defensive midfielder such as Brynjolfson would have been used  up front as an attackman when there were already better suited players on the Vancouver squads who could have stepped into the role – such as ‘Dot’ Crookall in 1914, and then in 1915, the veteran legend ‘Bones’ Allen as well. Granted those 1914 and 1915 Vancouver teams were thinner for talent compared to most years in the professional era, but both the Athletics management and then Con Jones the following year must have seen or known something of ‘Cotton’ Brynjolfson’s ability which is subsequently lost amongst the stats, as his scoring numbers are on the low side for an inside home player.

Brynjolfson served in the Canadian Navy during the Great War and his military service automatically reinstated his amateur status when he was discharged.

Foundation Shipyards team that won the Mann Cup for Victoria in 1919; Brynjolfson can be seen in the back row, third from right.

He joined the Foundation Shipyards Company and helped organise and manage a senior lacrosse team sponsored the same company. The Victoria Foundation Shipyards club won the Pacific Coast Amateur Lacrosse Association league, brushing aside both the New Westminster Salmonbellies and Vancouver Athletic Club in the process with a 6-win, 1-loss record. The Foundation club then routed the Edmonton Eskimos 28-5 in a two-game, total-goals series before dispatching the Winnipegs 17-7 in the championship game for the Mann Cup – Victoria’s first Mann Cup championship.

In May 1921, he was close to returning to professional lacrosse and signing with the Vancouver Terminals. He later would play four years of field lacrosse with the Sons of Canada club before he retired as a player around 1928.

‘Cotton’ Byrnjolfson as he appeared in the Victoria Daily Colonist in 1931.

At the age of 40, Brynjolfson was approached in 1931 to sign as a player in the brand-new International Professional Lacrosse League but he declined all offers, believing himself done as a player. He would later become a referee when the game went indoors, and in the war years of the 1940s he refereed senior games in the Greater Victoria Box Lacrosse Association.

Outside of lacrosse, he was an avid rugby player with the James Bay Athletic Association for eleven years. He also played some soccer with local teams in Victoria.

One of ten children, Ed Brynjolfson later became related to the family of his former Vancouver lacrosse manager, Con Jones, when one of his sisters married Jones’s second son, Dill Jones, in 1960.

While ‘Cotton’ was well known in Victoria for his lacrosse exploits, two of his brothers also gained some fame in the realm of sports: His brother Harold was the 1931 amateur golf champion of British Columbia while Walter scored Canada’s only points, a drop goal, against the famous New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during their 1925 tour.

(PHOTO SOURCE: courtesy of John Fuller family collection; Victoria Daily Colonist August 19, 1931)

Special thanks to John Fuller (Brynjolfson’s grand-nephew) for providing biographical information and photograph.

Bill Peacock

Bill Peacock in 1912.
Bill Peacock with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1912.

WILLIAM (BILL) PEACOCK, JNR.
(birth and death dates unknown)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1910-1913)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920; 1923)

One of the many obscure and now-forgotten players that made up the various Vancouver professional lacrosse teams in the post-Great War period, there are but just a few facts known about Bill Peacock.

His father, Bill Peacock, Senior was quoted in the Victoria Daily Colonist newspaper as his son having “the earmarks of a great home fielder”.

He played intermediate for Vancouver as early at 1908 and was playing senior by 1910, when the Vancouver Athletic Club managed to outmaneuver Con Jones in signing Peacock when VAC club secretary Hec Fowler and trainer Jocko Vinson managed to convince the youngster to sign with their club.

Bob Murray and Peacock would battle between themselves for the second home spot on the midfield line for two years running in 1912 and 1913, although Peacock was capable of playing in all the various home midfield positions. Later in his professional career, Peacock mostly played as a substitute in his last three seasons.

Outside of lacrosse, the only mention of him is that he may have played juvenile field hockey in 1905 for Nanaimo – or, at least, someone with the same name as his.

In total, Bill Peacock played in 62 professional matches and scored 35 goals in the course of 8 seasons – which puts him in 16th place for career scoring during the professional era on the Coast and ahead of Canadian lacrosse hall-of-fame midfielders Ernie Murray and Hugh Gifford. He was on the (contested) 1918 and 1920 Minto Cup championship teams for Vancouver and he may have as many as three or four Mann Cup championships to his name with the Vancouver Athletic Club.

His best season was in 1921 when he bagged 8 goals playing in the brief, rival Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association and was sitting in second place for goals with Vancouver Lacrosse Club and in the league at the time it folded in mid-season. When playing in his prime years in the pro British Columbia Lacrosse Association, he would usually finish anywhere between second and fifth in goal-scoring for Vancouver.

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA99-1019 excerpt)

bill peacock stats

5th Anniversary of “Old School Lacrosse” book

“Seems like a legitimate hit”Five years ago today, on February 14, 2012, the original edition of Professional Field Lacrosse in British Columbia 1909-1924 was published.

Since that time, the Old School Lacrosse website came into being and an expanded, second edition – renamed to match the website title – was published two and a half years later.

To celebrate this 5th Anniversary milestone, an updated book PDF of Old School Lacrosse – Professional Lacrosse in British Columbia 1909-1924 has been uploaded and made public today – including all the player biographies and stories written to date. Enjoy!

Click this link to view and download: OLD SCHOOL LACROSSE – PRO LACROSSE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 1909-1924

Archie Macnaughton

Archie McNaughton, ca.1888-1892
Archie Macnaughton, ca.1888-1892

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 infrequently as a name occurring in early Montréal.

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.

Archie Macnaughton with Montréal in 1889.

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.

AE Macnaughton's signature, showing how he spelt his surname
AE Macnaughton’s signature, showing how he spelt his surname

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 X994.15 excerpt; CLHOF X994.29 excerpt)

Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons, ca. 1909-1910
Dave Gibbons, ca. 1909-1910

DAVID WALTER (DAVE) GIBBONS
(February 22, 1884 – October 6, 1966)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1904-1910; 1915)
North Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1911)
Toronto Lacrosse Club (1912)
Vancouver Athletic Club (1913)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919; 1921)

Dave Gibbons was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. His father was born in Ireland while his mother was an American and his family moved to Canada when he was a youngster around 1890, ending up in Burnaby, British Columbia. Regardless his background, he was readily accepted as a local product by the Vancouver fans.

Gibbons made his senior lacrosse debut in 1904 and became a mainstay with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club as the senior amateur game transitioned into the early professional years. While well-regarded as a goaltender, his career during the professional era appears more as being stuck with the role of the perennial, stop-gap replacement that Vancouver teams would fall back on during rough times when their prime, starting keepers became unavailable.

During the 1910 season, a group of local players consisting of Dave Gibbons, George Matheson, Ernie Murray, and ‘Toots’ Clarkson quit the team in early June after they went to Con Jones with demands for more money. Eastern imports Johnny Howard, ‘Bones’ Allen, Harry Griffith, and Harry Pickering were all rumoured to be receiving $50 per week while 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 while the imports reaped all the benefits. Despite the hold-outs having a lot of sympathy from the local fans, Jones refused their demand of $40 per week. Gibbons, Murray, and Clarkson quit the team for the rest of the season while Matheson eventually re-joined the team in August. Ernie Murray would sign with cross-town rivals New Westminster in 1911. Con Jones quickly replaced Gibbons with Eastern import Alban ‘Bun’ Clark.

Dave Gibbons in 1905.
Dave Gibbons in 1905.

Gibbons would resurface the following year playing for the North Vancouver Lacrosse Club entry trying to gain admittance into the professional league. Two lopsided losses in test matches against New Westminster and Vancouver, in which Gibbons conceded a total of 25 goals, sealed the fate of the would-be third team in the British Columbia Lacrosse Association and their application was quickly rejected.

Dave Gibbons married Bertha Burnett, of Tacoma, Washington, on April 11, 1912 in Vancouver. He then left for Ontario when the Toronto Lacrosse Club signed Gibbons for the 1912 Dominion Lacrosse Union season, but his fortunes played out no better in the East as the ‘Torontos’ ended up mired in last-place in the four-team league.

He would return to the Coast the following year and found himself picked up by the Vancouver Athletic Club when the Mann Cup champions made their jump to the professional ranks and challenged the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the Minto Cup. Dave Gibbons and his opposite Alban ‘Bun’ Clark hold the distinction of being the two goalkeepers in the only meaningful meeting ever played between current Mann Cup and Minto Cup champions. Gibbons’s team would go down in defeat 9-1 and 5-3.

In 1914, the Athletics would join the professional league full-time but went with Byron ‘Boss’ Johnson as their keeper in lieu of Gibbons. He would resurface the following year when ‘Boss’ Johnson, now with the resuscitated Vancouver Lacrosse Club under Con Jones, dropped out mid-season and Jones had Gibbons held in reserve as a replacement. The 1915 team photograph for Vancouver shows a very rare occurrence in those field lacrosse days: a team carrying two goalkeepers at once.

Dave Gibbons prior to a game at Athletic Park in 1921, his final season.

The closest Gibbons ever saw himself winning a national championship occurred in 1918 when he helped lead the Vancouver Greenshirts to a 6-2 win/loss record over New Westminster, easily his best season during the professional era, in the Mainland Lacrosse Association series. The team won the Minto Cup and was regarded as champions when the season ended but the title was stripped the following year by the BCLA when the New Westminster Salmonbellies claimed – conveniently after they had lost the cup series – that they had never fielded a team and rejected Vancouver’s claims over the Minto Cup.

Dave Gibbons would play two more seasons of professional lacrosse, in 1919 and 1921, which book-ended the Vancouver Terminals 1920 Minto Cup championship when they went with Jake Davis as their goaltender. On June 14, 1919, the second game of the season, Dave Gibbons had his only professional shutout as the Terminals defeated the Salmonbellies 4-0. In his final season, he signed with the Terminals after their keeper Davis had bolted for Con Jones’s team in his upstart, rival Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. Gibbons’s final pro lacrosse match was on July 29, 1921 – to be replaced by Jake Davis for the remainder of the season when the PCLA folded the previous month and Davis was once more available.

His long career, with hindsight and with what is known, is an interesting study in both longevity and misfortune. His statistics from the professional era show a player who was mediocre at best, apart from his strong 1918 campaign. The fact that he was well-regarded by many, both during his playing years as well as many years later by his contemporaries and opponents, must lend some serious credence that he had the misfortune to have played for some rather poor performing Vancouver teams in front of him. A weak or terrible goaltender would not have lasted an impressive 17 years in the game, so one has to wonder whether he was often a bright spot on some not-so-bright teams. That said, the fact that the more successful Vancouver teams generally did not go with him, gives the impression that perhaps he was not regarded to have been a clutch, ‘go to’ goaltender – perhaps a player who was well beyond dependable in a pinch, but not one who was going to push the team over the top towards greatness.

It is a sad irony that when Vancouver won their Minto Cup titles in 1911 and 1920, he was not a member of the team – and when Gibbons finally did manage to win a championship in 1918, it was later denied to him and his team.

Outside of lacrosse, his occupation was listed on the 1921 Canadian census as a customs officer. In 1965, Dave Gibbons was named one of the inaugural, charter inductees for the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He passed away the following year and was interred at Ocean View Cemetery in Burnaby. His wife passed away in her one-hundredth year in 1989.

(PHOTO SOURCES: source unknown; CLHOF X994.204 excerpt; CVA 99-905 excerpt; author’s photograph)

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)