CHARLES (CHARLIE) GALBRAITH
(August 28, 1881 – November 10, 1924) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1905-1911)
One of the seven children of Hugh and Jane Galbraith, Charles was born in New Brunswick but then moved west with his family.
Young Galbraith played lacrosse with the New Westminster intermediate club in 1902, winning a provincial championship that year with the team. He played with the West End Club in the Royal City until around 1905 or 1906 when he graduated to the senior amateur New Westminster Salmonbellies. His older brothers William (known better by his nickname ‘Barlow’) and Robert both played intermediate lacrosse before him – Barlow with the New Westminster club in 1900 and Robert won the intermediate title in 1899 with the Maple Leaf club. Charlie would play alongside brother ‘Barlow’ in his first years with the senior Salmonbellies.
In the aftermath of the infamous gunshot incident at Queens Park that occurred on Saturday, September 26, 1908, Charlie Galbraith’s name was brought up in the British Columbia Amateur Lacrosse Association inquiry into the events with talk of levying suspensions against Galbraith (amongst others) whose role in the disturbance is otherwise completely unknown and unreported.
His professional career was short: just two full seasons in 1909 and 1910 followed by a couple of games in 1911, by which time he had been edged out of his defensive point position by Eastern import Johnny Howard. Charlie Galbraith would make an appearance in the New Westminster team photographs taken in May 1911 and was still deemed prominent enough a player, most likely on account of his membership on the 1908 Minto Cup championship team, to warrant inclusion on a cigarette card in the Imperial Tobacco lacrosse card set of 1911.
In the final match of the 1910 season, during the Minto Cup series against the Montréal Nationals, ‘Newsy’ Lalonde electrified spectators with an impressive goal all the while Galbraith was checking tight on him, twisting through the air past the Salmonbellies defender to bury the ball past goalkeeper Sandy Gray. Galbraith may have still been smarting bitter the following year – as when the two players faced off again and ‘Newsy’ this time now leading the Vancouver Lacrosse Club in the quest for the cherished silverware, Charlie was sent off for the final twenty-five minutes of the gritty match after walloping Lalonde.
In total, Charlie Galbraith played in 29 professional games with 10 penalties and 75 penalty minutes to his name; his prime playing days came in the decade of amateur, senior lacrosse which preceded the pro game.
Away from the lacrosse field, he was employed by Galbraith & Sons, which were lumber manufacturers based in New Westminster and Langley. A member of the New Westminster family associated with the famous Galbraith House located on the corner of Sixth Street and Queens Avenue, Charlie Galbraith had called the Murrayville community in Langley Township his home for the last twenty years or so of his life.
And, it was in Langley where a horrific tragedy would take Charles Galbraith’s life, at the age of 43, and leave behind a widow and three young children.
In the early hours of November 10, 1924, Charlie Galbraith was driving along Glover Trunk Road between Langley Prairie and Milner. He was returning to Fort Langley to drop off his five passengers after volunteering to drive for an impromptu evening excursion which had ended up in New Westminster. At around two o’clock in the morning, his automobile suddenly skidded, probably on account of loose gravel on the road. Two of its wheels made contact with slippery grass at the side of the road and as Galbraith tried to regain control, the front wheels jack-knifed and his vehicle flipped over into the ditch.
His fellow occupants managed to make their escape but Galbraith was pinned down, with only his head clear of the now burning automobile. Because the gasoline tank in his automobile was located directly underneath the driver’s seat, with the automobile now inverted upside-down, gasoline poured down all over on him.
According to the report in The Columbian newspaper, he would have died quickly in the flames which engulfed him and the automobile – but at the investigation held the following day in Murrayville, the coroner’s jury believed Charlie Galbraith could have been saved if one of his fellow travelers had stayed on the scene to render assistance instead of leaving the scene of the accident to obtain help from a nearby farm.
THOMAS STUART (TOM) GIFFORD
(June 5, 1880 – May 4, 1966) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1898-1912)
One of the greatest New Westminster defensive players in the first decade of the Twentieth Century and the captain of the New Westminster Salmonbellies during their early professional years, Tommy Gifford was born in Lockerbie, Scotland. At the age of seven, in 1887, he moved to Canada with his parents and younger siblings. He was the eldest of the four Gifford brothers who all eventually played professional lacrosse with the Salmonbellies. Two other brothers would play at the senior level for the redshirts.
Gifford played his first games with the Salmonbellies in 1898 at the tender age of 18 as an intermediate pick-up. The following year, he won the provincial intermediate championship with the Maple Leaf club of New Westminster. Soon afterwards making his move full-time to the seniors, his presence on the field was so impressive that by 1903, at the still youthful age of 23, he was already recognised across Canada as one of the leading, veteran defenders of the Salmonbellies. He played the coverpoint position, marking the opposing outside home attacker – except in 1911, when he split time playing at point defense.
On March 14, 1903, his lacrosse career was almost cut short when Gifford was nearly killed while working as a lineman on one of the city telephone and lighting poles in New Westminster. The rotted-out pole toppled over after he had reached the top and came crashing down on a pile of lumber. He escaped with his life – as well as bumps and bruises to his hip and shoulder.
July 1905 saw Gifford out with a tendon injury, incurred during a rough match versus Vancouver, putting his left arm into a sling.
1907 was a difficult year for Tom Gifford, who had the young intermediate Cliff ‘Doughy’ Spring chasing him for his spot on the team that June. The following month then saw him on the sidelines with his left arm once again in a sling after a particular rough match versus Vancouver Lacrosse Club on July 12.
He was a central figure in the infamous gunshot incident at Queens Park in 1908 and his leadership presence over the rioting participants to help quell the situation is testimony to the respect he had with lacrosse fans and players alike.
Tom Gifford, like most defenders of the day, played hard both dealing out the hits and taking them for his team. In 1957, sports writer and former National Hockey League manager Tommy Gorman recalled in the Ottawa Citizen an incident with Gifford when he was playing for Regina in 1909 versus New Westminster:
“In the second period Tom Gifford hit me so hard he broke my jaw, cracked my nose and knocked out four teeth. I woke up in hospital with Sport [Henry] Murton and Jack Shea beside my bed. There was a terrible moan from the next room. “What happened? I said. “What’s that moaning?” “Ssssssshhh,” said Sport, “That’s the guy who hit you.”
Prior to the Minto Cup series against the Regina Capitals, Gifford had been under the weather for a couple weeks with “la grippe” – as the flu was referred to back in the day. With the press reporting he was thus out of shape, Gifford must have found his game feet in time to lay out Gorman.
One incident, on Dominion Day of 1911, sparked by Tommy Gifford, showed just what a brazen character he could be at times in contrast to his calm manner during the gunshot incident three years before:
Having played what was described as “a strenuous sort of game all afternoon”, Gifford decided to take a crack at Vancouver enforcer (and future NHL hall-of-fame referee) Fred ‘Mickey’ Ion. With Referee WD Ditchburn in pursuit, Gifford then ran amok on the field at Recreation Park trying to avoid the fine cheque being issued by Ditchburn. He was eventually cornered by the other referee, TD Cusack, and was ordered out of the game after Cusack had stuffed the fine down Gifford’s sweater.
The game then resumed – but as Tommy Gifford was heading off the playing field to the Salmonbellies’ clubhouse, he changed his mind and instead made for the Vancouver goal and hung out around there while play continued in the New Westminster end. Neither official seemed to notice him to stop play – so when the action made its way down the field towards the Vancouver goal, Gifford decided to take a run and charge Vancouver point defender and team captain Harry Griffiths from behind. Griffiths then turned around and struck back at the New Westminster captain, chopping the side of his head with his stick. Now sporting a big gash, Gifford then swung back at the three Vancouver offensive players, Archie Adamson, Billy Fitzgerald, and Newsy Lalonde – who had entered the fray and all walloped back at the now-outnumbered Gifford.
Gifford was finally escorted off the field by a friend of his – but not before another fight broke out between ‘Pat’ Feeney and Nick Carter and spectators then streamed out on the field, many engaged in their own dust-ups with opposing fans. Police and park officials managed to corral the fans and clear off the field so the remainder of the match could continue.
When he retired from the game after the 1912 season, in four professional seasons Gifford had played in 51 games with 1 goal to his name. He was sent off for 26 penalties for a total of 171 penalty minutes. 1911 was his most feisty season with 12 penalties and 82 minutes – a complete turnaround from the previous season when he was sent off for only 10 minutes from 2 penalties. He was 16th in overall career penalty minutes. When looking back at his entire senior and professional career, Tom Gifford was probably the best defenseman to suit up for New Westminster during the first two decades of the club’s existence.
Gifford became the manager of the New Westminster Salmonbellies professionals in 1913 but his debut season came to an abrupt halt on July 5 when he led his team off the field in protest five minutes prior to the start of the match. On the advice of two lawyers, Gifford refused to face the Vancouver Lacrosse Club on account of suspensions to ‘Mickey’ Ion and Harry Griffiths – (haven’t we seen these two names before?). Both players were still in Con Jones’s line-up when New Westminster arrived at Hastings Park. Jones refused to budge so the Redshirts walked off to their dressing rooms. Referee Fred Cullin then placed the ball near centreman Ernie Murray’s stick and blew his whistle. The Vancouver players then passed the ball around a dozen times before bagging an unopposed goal. After two more goals were scored in similar manner, the “game” ended and the angry crowd of 5,000 went home.
Unbeknownst to most folks in attendance that day, they had witnessed the first nail in the coffin of the professional game on the Coast. It would be another 11 years before that lid was nailed tightly shut, but the newspapers of the day were nevertheless aware and observant that the sudden, acrimonious end of the 1913 BCLA season would become a serious obstacle for the sport to overcome.
He would return as manager in 1921 – between which time the post was occupied by AE Kellington and former teammate Gordon Spring. Away from the game, Gifford worked as the superintendent for the Fraser River Bridge until his retirement in 1946 after 42 years of service.
Thomas Stuart Gifford passed away in Seattle on May 4, 1966; he had moved to that city four years prior. Later that year, he was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a field player. His brother and former team-mate Jim Gifford accepted the induction in his memory.
GEORGE HADDOW RENNIE
(March 11, 1883 – December 13, 1966) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1901-1915; 1918-1920)
Like many accolades given to the old greats, his long-time friend and defensive team-mate Jim Gifford said that George Rennie was “one of the finest players in the world in his day”.
A defensive midfielder by trade, playing in the second defense and third defense positions, George Rennie turned senior in 1901 with the New Westminster Salmonbellies.
During the professional era, he played in 120 games and scored 18 goals. He was sent off for 38 penalty infractions for a total of 188 penalty minutes. Late in the 1919 season, he took on a substitute role as youngster Laurie Nelson took over his place on the field. Rennie would then continue in a substitute capacity throughout the 1920 campaign – his last as an active player. After the conclusion of the final match of the 1920 season, George Rennie closed the book on his two decades of playing when announced his retirement in the Salmonbellies dressing room, quoted by the newspapers as saying that: “youth must be served, and this is my last appearance in a uniform”.
Rennie was one of two New Westminster players who were members of the 1908 Canadian Olympic lacrosse team that traveled to London, England to compete in the Fourth Olympiad. Canada won the gold medal when they defeated Great Britain by a score of 14-10 on October 24, 1908. In a tournament which featured just two nations and a single match, it would be the last appearance of lacrosse at the Olympics as a fully recognised, non-demonstration sport.
He was born in either Douglastown or Newcastle, New Brunswick – both which are now parts of the modern city of Miramichi. Away from the game, Rennie worked as the superintendent of the Lulu Island Swing Bridge between Richmond and Vancouver until his retirement in the mid-1940s.
George Rennie was a charter inductee, as a field player, into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965.
WILSON DOUGLAS (WILLIS) PATCHELL
(April 22, 1893 – February 24, 1973) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1914; 1918-1921; 1924)
Vancouver Terminals (1923)
One of the few players who could match up and effectively shut down the great ‘Newsy’ Lalonde, Willis Patchell was perhaps best remembered back in his day for his incredible and inspiring comeback effort after being wounded during the First World War.
He made his professional debut in 1914 with the New Westminster Salmonbellies and played in 6 games that season alternating between coverpoint and first defence. The coverpoint, the second deepest defender on the field, would be his usual position although he could fill in at first defence and point when occasion required.
The First World War would then take him away from the playing field for the next three or so years. It almost took him away from the game permanently.
A member of the 29th Battalion from British Columbia, Patchell suffered a broken right leg during the intense fighting on the Western Front in 1916. Doctors said that he would never play lacrosse again, yet he persevered and returned to the playing field two years later when lacrosse action resumed on the Pacific Coast in 1918 – the long, jagged scars on his leg the only evidence on the field of his wounds.
From 1918 onward, Patchell would play in six of the following seven professional seasons between 1918 and 1924. He was absent completely from the 1922 season and he then signed with Vancouver late in the 1923 season. The Terminals were having roster problems with some absentee bodies in their defensive zone and were desperate for help. While he showed some rust in his first game, no doubt on account of his long lay-off, it was felt Patchell could nevertheless provide some needed veteran experience to the Vancouver squad. He played the month of September 1923, suiting up three times for the Vancouver Terminals. He then returned to the Salmonbellies the next year, in what turned out to be the final professional season played on the Pacific Coast.
His professional field lacrosse career would see him play in 62 games – all but 3 of them played with New Westminster Salmonbellies. He managed to score one lone goal – which came on July 25, 1921. His 18 penalty infractions clocked up 81 minutes to his name. Willis Patchell would win four Minto Cup professional championships, although two of them – in 1914 and 1924, his first and last professional seasons – were won by New Westminster through defaults.
Patchell would regain his amateur status in 1927 and return to play for New Westminster Senior ‘A’ teams – first the Salmonbellies, and then later, the Adanacs – to extend his lengthy career which would span 20 years. He then followed up with another 11 years during when he would intermittently suit up in what must have been emergency situations. During that time he witnessed the transition from the old field game to the faster box version. His final 2 games were played in 1945, at the age of 52 for the New Westminster Adanacs, to book-end a senior career which had begun its first chapter some 31 years previous. Not a bad career for someone who was told he was done in 1917.
Willis Patchell played on the 1928 New Westminster Salmonbellies senior team that traveled to the Amsterdam Summer Olympics for the lacrosse demonstration. His brother Bill Patchell was the coach of the team – himself unable to play in the Olympics on account of his former professional status not yet rescinded like his younger brother.
A fireman by trade, he retired as assistant chief of the New Westminster Fire Department in 1953. Three years after his passing in 1973, Willis Patchell was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in the field player category.
JAMES STODDART (JIM) GIFFORD
(September 26, 1886 – November 9, 1976) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1905-1912)
Jimmy Gifford was born in Scotland (his family hailed from Lockerbie) and moved to North America with his parents nine months later, first to St. Paul, Minnesota and then later to New Westminster where his father opened a jewellery business. The patriarch of the famous, lacrosse-playing Gifford brothers was Thomas Gifford; his father served as a provincial MLA for fourteen years under Premier Richard McBride.
His lacrosse career at the senior and professional level would be relatively short – just eight seasons in total – before he suddenly took ill on July 12, 1912, was rushed to hospital, and an abscess operation effectively forced him to retire. By the time the professional game came along in 1909, Gifford had already earnt the reputation for being one of the hardest and toughest players to take to the field. During the professional era his heated rivalry with ‘Newsy’ Lalonde of the Vancouver Lacrosse Club was legendary, nasty, and relentless. Even in old age Gifford continued to hold a grudge and could not bear being in the presence of Lalonde.
Outside of lacrosse, Gifford was employed in a partnership with Webb & Gifford Machine Works. Later in his life, he was instrumental in establishing the rival New Westminster Adanacs lacrosse club in 1933. He helped coach them to their first Mann Cup finals in 1938 and then won the cherished golden trophy the following season.
In 1965, Jim Gifford was named one the charter Field Player inductees into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Passing away in 1976 at the age of 90, he was last of the five Gifford brothers (Tom, Hugh, Jack, and Bill – along with himself) as well as the last remaining member of the legendary New Westminster Salmonbellies 1908 Minto Cup championship team.
IRVING ‘PUNK’ WINTEMUTE
(February 24, 1886 – March 28, 1937) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1905-1915; 1919)
‘Punk’ Wintemute was a member of the 1908 Minto Cup team that went East to pry the silver mug from the Montréal Shamrocks. He would then go on to play eight seasons at the professional level for the New Westminster Salmonbellies.
He played junior lacrosse with the New Westminster East End team known as the Reginas until around 1905 when he joined the senior team. At the peak of his career he was regarded as one of the best stickhandlers in the game.
His best season as a professional came in 1912 when he scored a career-high of 13 goals that season. Finishing fourth in goal scoring for the New Westminster Salmonbellies, Wintemute had four 2-goal games. His only hat-trick was scored in 1910 during the second leg of the Minto Cup series versus Montréal Amateur Athletic Association. Playing the second home position on the midfield line, he was not a notably prolific goal scorer but still had a couple of strong seasons of production in which he reached double-digits. He retired with 43 goals in 76 professional matches, ranking him 11th in overall career scoring for professional players on the Pacific Coast and 17th for number of games played.
Away from the lacrosse field, he worked in the provincial civil service for 23 years as mining recorder and chief clerk in the government agent’s office. His responsibilities would include the staking of mining claims and dispute resolution.
In the mid-1920s, Wintemute underwent surgery to relieve his arthritis. The operation went horribly wrong and he instead ended up paralysed from the waist down and lost his vision. On June 15, 1929, an old-timers benefit match was played at Queens Park in New Westminster. Featuring many of the legendary lacrosse names from the first two decades of the century, between $1200 and $1400 was raised from the gate proceeds which were then turned over to Wintemute. After the match ended, members of both the New Westminster and Vancouver teams made their way over to ‘Punk’s house to visit with the now invalid, former fellow player from the heyday of local lacrosse.
Bedridden and blind, Wintemute would be given one of the new modern inventions known as radio to listen to broadcasts of the new modern version of his old sport now known as box lacrosse. Often old team-mates would visit him and listen to the games at his bedside and talk about their heroic days of old. Visits at his home and the radio were his only contacts with the outside world.
On August 17, 1933, a second benefit match for the ailing Wintemute was played in New Westminster between the New Westminster Adanacs and the former professional Salmonbellies of old.
Irving Wintemute passed away at his New Westminster home, located at 111 Fifth Avenue, on March 28, 1937 – his untimely death clearly brought on by the torturous years of his medical condition.
Two of his sisters married prominent lacrosse personalities in New Westminster, Oscar Swanson and Hugh Gifford.
HUGH WILSON GIFFORD
(May 29, 1892 – March 22, 1966) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1910-1915; 1919-1924)
Hugh Gifford played in more seasons than any professional player on the Pacific Coast save for New Westminster team-mates ‘Pat’ Feeney and ‘Buck’ Marshall. He made his debut in 1910, the second year of open professionalism in the British Columbia Lacrosse Association and would remain in the professional ranks for 12 playing seasons until the game died in 1924 – absent only from the 1918 Mainland Lacrosse Association campaign.
Of the four Gifford brothers who played professional lacrosse for the Salmonbellies, he was the last one still playing in that final season on the Pacific Coast and in Canada – his younger brother Jack Gifford missing from the four games that were played in the aborted 1924 season. He was also the first of the Gifford family to be born in New Westminster; his older brothers having been born in Scotland prior to the family leaving for North America in 1887.
Like his older brothers Tom and Jim Gifford, Hugh was a defensive player – although more as a midfield defender in the modern sense than a pure defenceman as the aforementioned two. Hugh Gifford was recalled as “a powerful, colourful player, an outstanding athlete,” and “a stalwart on defence”. However when required, he could play in any position in his team’s own half of the field. He pulled duty as a centreman in the second half of the 1915 season while he played a handful of games in 1919 and 1921 in point and coverpoint roles back near his own crease. He even started a game between the goal posts in one instance – in just his second game after joining the Salmonbellies – on August 27, 1910, in which he filled in for ‘Sandy’ Gray. The youthful Gifford allowed just 3 goals to get past him in helping lead New Westminster to a narrow victory over the home side in Vancouver.
Not a plentiful goal scorer, he generally finished in the middle-third of the pack in his team’s scoring each season but still managed a couple games in his career where he bagged 2 goals in one game whilst playing in his usual defensive midfield role. Overall, and most likely due to his lengthy career, Gifford still managed to finish ranked 18th in career scoring with 29 goals and 1 assist, which are the best goal totals for any ‘defensive-minded’ player on the Coast.
Where he would have made a name for himself statistically – if career statistics had been kept back then – would be penalties and minutes. His 54 penalty infractions place him fourth overall in the professional game on the Pacific Coast while his 342 penalty minutes make him the most penalised New Westminster player in terms of minutes sat out – and edge him up to third overall in that category behind Vancouver’s Harry Griffith and ‘Newsy’ Lalonde for career totals. Despite these high numbers, Hugh Gifford is not noted for being a particularly nasty or pugilistic player. He only had 6 games out of his career 124 played where he had more than 10 minutes in a game; this being an age where 5 minutes was generally the minimum handed out for a penalty.
After his retirement from the game, he became a junior-level referee. He later officiated in one of the Mann Cup series. Hugh Gifford passed away at Royal Columbian Hospital from complications which aggravated his chronic asthma condition. He was inducted posthumously as a field player into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1969.
JAMES (JIMMY) ALEXANDER GUNN
(October 25, 1898 – January 13, 1987) Vancouver Terminals (1922-1923)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1924)
With his brief and youthful career, Jimmy Gunn was a rising star in the last days of professional lacrosse. The Vancouver Daily Province observed that Young Gunn, in his professional debut match in 1922, was “…one of the fastest fielders seen on the home [midfield] in many moons”, who possessed an accurate outlet in moving the ball near the vicinity of the opposing goalkeeper.
Gunn played 30 games over two seasons with the Vancouver Terminals before signing with his hometown team in 1924. He played in all 4 of the New Westminster Salmonbellies’ games that last season before professional lacrosse died in June 1924. He scored a career total of 17 goals and 2 assists for 19 points; he was penalised 7 times for a total of 41 minutes.
Prior to his three years as a professional player, Jimmy Gunn played with the New Westminster seniors between 1919 and 1921 and winning the Mann Cup twice during his tenure with the Royal City amateurs. One can only guess what kind of star on the midfield he would have become if the professional game hadn’t died so suddenly – when Jimmy Gunn was still 26 years young.
He was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a field player in 1972 although at the end of his day he probably had more fame as a referee – officiating for 32 years and writing a referee manual for the Canadian Lacrosse Association which saw widespread distribution. He was also at some point, during his time around the game, the president of women’s lacrosse.
In January 1939, Gunn was involved, along with Cliff Spring and Andy Paull, with the formation of the Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association, a four-team professional league based in Los Angeles, California. The league folded by the end of the month due to poor arena conditions.
In 1969 the British Columbia Lacrosse Association named their outstanding referee achievement award after him – with awards handed out on an annual basis to the top senior and minor referees with field referees added to the class starting in 1998. Candidates for the Jimmy Gunn Merit Award are judged on their achievements toward promoting sportsmanship and the image of the game.
COLONEL BURNABY ‘BERNIE’ FEEDHAM
(October 25, 1895 – July 3, 1980) New Westminster Salmonbellies (1921-1924)
The legendary Alban ‘Bun’ Clark retired at the end of the 1921 season and the New Westminster Salmonbellies suddenly found themselves in need of finding a new goalkeeper as they headed into the 1922 campaign.
At first, 33-year-old veteran Cliff Spring was strongly considered for the role but in hindsight it was a wise move to keep ‘Doughy’ as a midfielder, as he would go on to have some of his best playing years during the next two seasons.
Instead, Bernie Feedham, a substitute who had joined the team at the start of the 1921 season, made the move into the goal crease and for the last remaining days of the professional era, he excelled between the posts in stopping the ball for the Salmonbellies.
Feedham played 33 games in two-and-a-half seasons as a goalkeeper with a record of 19 wins, 13 losses and 1 tie. His .591 win percentage is the second-best for all pro goalkeepers on Pacific Coast between 1909 and 1924; only Alex ‘Sandy’ Gray had a better win record at .675 percentage. He let in 153 goals which gave him a goals-against average of 4.64 – again, just behind ‘Sandy’ Gray by just 1 goal for the lead as best goals-against amongst goalkeepers.
In his first professional season, when he played as an outfield substitute, Feedham appeared in 18 games – scoring 6 goals and clocking up 4 penalties for 21 penalty minutes.
When he was born in 1895, Bernie Feedham was given probably the most unusual Christian name ever seen in lacrosse – as ‘Bernie’ just ended up being the name that everyone referred to him as.
His actual, full, given-name on paper was Colonel Burnaby Feedham – as in, “Colonel Burnaby” was his first name. When he enrolled in the military during the Great War, as an artillery gunner, it must have been awkward and confusing at times having such a name with the military rank of ‘Colonel’ in it: Gunner Colonel Burnaby Feedham. When signing documents, he shortened his name to “C.B. Feedham”.
According to the book Pioneer Tales of Burnaby (1987), Colonel Burnaby Feedham was reported to be the first white male baby born in the municipality of East Burnaby.
The earliest evidence of his lacrosse career is a team photograph including Feedham as a spare player with the Vancouver East Ends – who were the Vancouver junior champions in 1909-10. As a youth, he moved around between teams. He found himself as the point defenseman with the East Burnaby public school team in 1911. By the end of that season he was then with the Sapperton juvenile team which toured the province. He spent 1912 and 1913 playing in the New Westminster intermediate lacrosse league for East Burnaby as their inside home (attack) player.
His senior amateur debut came in 1913 when he played two games for New Westminster. The following two seasons saw him with playing for the Vancouver Athletic Club – although he was not part of the squads that subsequently played up against the professionals. His first season with the Athletics was the last of their four-year stranglehold over the Mann Cup.
1917 found Bernie Feedham on Vancouver Island due to the Great War – in uniform, on and off the playing field, for the Victoria Fifth Garrison Artillery team. He also played some games for a team in Sidney along with team-mate Willis Patchell. His military records of the time shed some interesting physical information about the man which would have had some bearing on his playing career: he was somewhat short, his height was 5’6″ at age 22 and he had a history of synovial inflammation in his right knee.
The following year he was back on the Mainland, playing senior lacrosse for the Vancouver Coughlans Shipyards Amateur Atheltic Association team in the Vancouver Amateur Lacrosse Association. The Coughlans ended up winning the Mann Cup in 1918 by defeating the New Westminster holders – the first time the trophy had been put in competition since 1915 – but it is unknown whether Bernie Feedham participated in the three post-season games against North Vancouver Squamish Indians or Winnipeg Argonauts which secured the gold cup for Vancouver.
Feedham found himself playing for another shipyard team in 1919, when he played for the Victoria Foundation Shipyards in the Pacific Coast Amateur Lacrosse Association. Victoria won the three-team league and then proceeded to defeat the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg for the Mann Cup – with Bernie Feedham responsible for half of all the goals scored by the Foundation Shipyards against the Prairie squads.
He returned to his hometown in 1920 and helped the New Westminster amateurs win the three-team PCALA league and the Mann Cup – leading the scoring along the way.
Not bad playing for three different teams and winning the Mann Cup three years in a row. With the professional New Westminster Salmonbellies, he would then add four Minto Cup titles to his name. All in all, seven national championships in seven years: three Mann Cups as a goal scorer, followed by four Minto Cups – three of them as a goaltender – plus a possible claim to the golden cup in 1914.
Ten years later in 1934, Bernie Feedham would suit up in the new Inter-City Box Lacrosse League as a back-up for Vancouver St. Helen’s Hotel, appearing in two games and letting in 26 goals for a 71.1% save percentage. He also played 14 games that same season as a runner for the New Westminster Salmonbellies. He would then play two more seasons as a runner/back-up with the New Westminster Salmonbellies for a total of 48 games as a runner and 10 of them as a goalkeeper. His brief box lacrosse career, an epilogue quite a few of the old professionals attempted, saw him play in 12 games in net, face 359 shots and make 211 saves for a 58.8% average. When he played out on the floor, he bagged 49 goals and 13 assists for 62 points. In 1935, his 40th year, the old veteran scored an impressive 34 goals in 21 games.
In April 1937, it was reported in The Chilliwack Progress that Feedham would be assisting Cliff Spring with coaching various teams of the “Mustang” lacrosse club in that city.
Outside of lacrosse, Bernie Feedham worked as a salesman for the meat packers Swift & Company between 1917 and 1925 – although his occupation is listed as an accountant on his 1918 military attestation papers. After quitting the packing industry, Feedham then moved his family to White Rock and went into business for himself. He would establish himself there, and gain local fame in the 1930s and early 1940s, with the famous Blue Moon dance hall.
After two fires, the third incarnation of the Blue Moon would be built in 1930 at a new location across from the Great Northern Railway station. Over time, the building – at one time named the Feedham Block – evolved into the Ocean Beach Hotel as it continued to be a fixture of the local White Rock entertainment scene until redevelopment in 2013. Today the establishment operates as The Hemingway Waterfront Public House (Est. 1930) – with the year in its corporate name paying homage to its days when Bernie Feedham founded the Blue Moon at the same location.
The Brockton Point Grounds, located on the peninsula of the same name in Stanley Park, are Vancouver’s oldest athletic grounds still in use (by cricket and rugby teams). Its heyday as a lacrosse field was from 1890 until 1905 – although the two seasons it was used by the professionals were in 1918 during the Mainland Lacrosse Association season and then one game in 1922.
The location was originally cleared for a sawmill in 1865 but when the mill was instead built over in Gastown, the site then became one of Vancouver’s earliest sporting grounds. There seems to be some uncertainty pinning down exactly when it was first used for sporting events – although it hosted its first lacrosse match no later than September 1890.
The isolated location and distance from downtown Vancouver made it somewhat unpopular as a venue. It also proved to be unavailable when professional baseball came to town, as the Brockton Point Athletic Association had a strict stipulation that the playing fields were for amateur use only. Once Recreation Park was built downtown in 1905 to solve this issue regarding professionals, the Vancouver Lacrosse Club soon followed baseball across Coal Harbour to the vastly improved, new stadium in April 1906 after disagreements over gate receipts.
In 1918, Con Jones signed a three-year, $700 per year lease for use of the Brockton Point grounds. By this point, the Parks Commission was controlling Brockton Point so its use by professionals for the Mainland Lacrosse Association season did not face the same opposition which earlier teams had dealt with. After one season however, and with Con Jones now out of the professional game after a dispute over the Minto Cup, lacrosse returned to Athletic Park.
The last recorded lacrosse games from those early days played at Brockton Point are believed to be amateur, holiday exhibition games which occurred in 1929. An exception to this was an exhibition field lacrosse match organised and played in 1986 between the North Shore Indians and a British Columbia Selects team in celebration of the one-hundredth anniversary of both the founding of the city of Vancouver and the first lacrosse game in the province.
The crowd capacity for lacrosse games at Brockton Point is unknown, although the grandstand could hold around 5,000 spectators.
CAMBIE STREET GROUNDS (1887-1943)
First surveyed and assigned for athletics and sporting pastimes in the 1880s, the Cambie Street grounds were not that well-maintained and deemed unsatisfactory for sporting events well before the time professional lacrosse reached its glory years.
The grounds took up the entire city block bounded by Cambie, Dunsmuir, Beatty and Georgia Streets and was obtained through the persistent efforts of Lauchlan Hamilton, the Canadian Pacific Railway land commissioner and Vancouver’s first surveyor, and MP Arthur Wellington Ross.
In its early years, it could be leased from the Canadian Pacific Railroad for $5 per annum and cows and goats were kept on the grounds as a means to trim the grass. The grounds played host to Vancouver’s first sports event, a rugby game in 1887. Actual lacrosse games at the senior level were only played on the Cambie grounds in 1891, with three matches recorded as being played there.
Alfred ‘Al’ Larwill had a shack on the grounds and lived there as a sort of unofficial caretaker from the time after the great fire of 1886 until 1902 when he was ordered to move so the site could be renovated. Larwill passed away on April 2, 1911. The Cambie Street grounds saw more use as a practice field – and its real legacy for the game of lacrosse is that many a young Vancouver lacrosse player honed and perfected his skills under the watchful eye of Larwill. Outstanding lacrosse players such as George Matheson and his brothers Waldo and Earl learnt their trade there while growing up as youngsters.
The Cambie Street grounds were renamed Larwill Park in 1943 in memory of the old caretaker, who has since become a now-forgotten yet important historical personage from the very early days of athletics and sports in Vancouver.
Sadly, the name did not remain in use for long. During the Second World War, the grounds were re-developed and Larwill Park became a bus depot for long-distance buses in 1946. The Greyhound Bus Lines depot remained there until 1993 when it was demolished sometime afterwards. Currently the block is occupied by a parking lot.
Unlike the Vancouver lacrosse teams which moved around from location to location depending on grounds availability over the years, the New Westminster Salmonbellies were firmly ensconced at Queens Park for their home playing field starting from 1890 onwards. Prior to the construction of Queens Park, Townsend’s Field nearby was used during the first season for New Westminster.
The lacrosse field used by the Salmonbellies was located where the modern baseball diamond is located today. The field was notorious for its noticeable uphill slope which the home team manipulated to their advantage.
A few games at Queens Park, such as when the Montréal Amateur Athletic Association and Montréal Nationals traveled to the Coast in their challenges against New Westminster for the Minto Cup, reached the 16,000 range – but between 10,000 and 12,000 spectators was considered large and 8,000 a fair-sized crowd.
Along with Recreation Park, Queens Park was probably the most photographed of all the lacrosse grounds in British Columbia – with the bulk of the images originating during the 1908 to 1911 period.
RECREATION PARK (1905-1913)
Costing somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 to build, Recreation Park opened in May 1905 as Vancouver’s first downtown stadium structure. It was home to the Vancouver Lacrosse Club as well as Vancouver’s professional baseball team in the Northwest Baseball League.
Located on the block bordered by what is now Homer, Smythe, Mainland, and Robson Streets, the site was leased from the Canadian Pacific Railroad out of part of their railway reserve lands. At the time, Robson Street did not go through – and the stretch between Homer and Mainland was part of the grounds.
The location was chosen as Vancouver was in dire need of a downtown sports facility for the growing city. The previously used Brockton Point grounds were deemed inaccessible for larger crowds as well as restricted to use for amateur sporting events.
However, downtown Vancouver was changing quickly. When built in 1905, much of the downtown core had still been lightly developed with large tracts still remaining. But in the boom years which preceded and followed its opening in the first decade of the Twentieth Century, Vancouver’s population quadrupled. The Canadian Pacific Railroad had begun to look at using or selling off the land as early as 1909, just four years after the park had opened its doors to the public.
The 1911 season when Vancouver Lacrosse Club won the Minto Cup saw some of the largest crowds ever at Recreation Park, with a record-breaker in the 10,000 to 11,000 range early in the season on June 3. On Dominion Day, the stadium saw 12,045 in attendance – reported as one of the largest crowds ever to witness a lacrosse game in British Columbia.
The massive crowds would continue into the autumn when Vancouver and New Westminster needed a playoff series as both teams finished splitting the schedule with 5 wins apiece. The 14,009 paid attendance, possibly as many as 15,000, who filled Recreation Park on September 16, 1911 was probably the largest recorded attendance to witness a lacrosse game played in Vancouver until the birth of the Vancouver Ravens of the National Lacrosse League in 2002.
When Toronto Tecumsehs travelled west to challenge Vancouver for the Minto Cup in October 1911, standing room only crowds once again filled Recreation Park to capacity – and beyond – with many spectators watching precariously from neighbouring roof tops, window sills, fences, billboard signs, and even clambering up telephone poles for a view of the action. Oddly enough, the reported attendances for these matches were surprisingly low considering that photographic images from the series imply a completely different picture.
Recreation Park was closed after the 1912 season as Vancouver’s sports teams, forewarned and not surprised by the impending closure, simultaneously made their own arrangements to move elsewhere for their 1913 seasons. The grandstand was disassembled and moved to the new Athletic Park located on the south side of False Creek as the baseball team relocated its operations there. Meanwhile, Con Jones moved his Vancouver Lacrosse Club to the Hastings Park grounds near where he would eventually build a stadium that would bear his name.
Ironically, once the site had been leveled to the ground and all trace of the stadium removed, the vacant lot then remained unused as a blight on the downtown core, an eyesore well into the 1940s. All or parts of the block later became a parking lot and storage facility before redevelopment into high-rise condominiums around 2005.
HASTINGS ATHLETIC PARK (1913-1915?)
CON JONES PARK (1921-1971)
With the closure of Recreation Park, the Vancouver Lacrosse Club moved across the city to the wooded wilderness of Hastings Athletic Park for the 1913 season.
Pin-pointing the exact location of the playing grounds can be somewhat confusing as sources and maps sometimes present conflicting and incorrect information. Some sources – such as the atlas Vancouver: A Visual History have the ca.1913 grounds incorrectly located on the site of modern Callister Park where Con Jones’s stadium was located from 1921 until it was demolished in 1971 – while other sources have it correctly located across Renfrew Street in the modern Pacific National Exhibition grounds with the playing field located in the middle of where the Exhibition Park racetrack is currently located.
This confusion is further exacerbated as the newspapers of the day sometimes referred to Hastings grounds as “Con Jones Park” or “Jones Park” starting around 1914 or 1915, well before his stadium was built in 1920-21 – which sometimes gives the impression that there was a stadium structure already on site earlier than 1920.
In September 1920, Con Jones acquired a two-block lot (bounded by Renfrew, Oxford, Sunrise, and Cambridge Streets) across from the PNE Grounds. By May 1921, Jones’s lacrosse teams were making use of the brand-new Con Jones Park and its new wooden stadium. The years when Jones wasn’t involved in the professional game, the Vancouver Terminals were compelled to use Athletic Park. When Jones passed away in 1929, payments on its mortgage ceased and title of the property reverted back to original owner, John Callister – whose heirs later donated it to the City of Vancouver in the 1940s. The old stadium, which had become a shrine for local amateur soccer teams, was demolished in 1971, erasing the last legacy of Con Jones from Vancouver’s sporting map.
ATHLETIC PARK (1913-1951)
Athletic Park was located on the south shore of False Creek in Vancouver, on the north-east corner of Hemlock Street and West Fifth Avenue overlooking Granville Island. The second grandstand stadium built in Vancouver, it was home to the city’s baseball and lacrosse teams.
The stadium was built and owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and managed by local baseball legend Bob Brown until 1944, when it was then sold to Emil Sick and his Capilano Breweries, who renamed it Capilano Stadium.
The stadium suffered its second fire the following year and City Hall began to covet the site for construction of a new Granville Street Bridge and its required on-ramps along Hemlock Street as well as extending West Fourth Avenue. After further repairs and renovations to the rickety structure, the stadium was finally acquired by the City and demolished in 1951 – to be replaced by Nat Bailey Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park.
The stadium was home for the Vancouver Athletic Club and Vancouver Terminals lacrosse teams – although it was generally used more by the various senior amateur teams and leagues than by the professionals, who usually opted for Con Jones Park when it was made available to them for their home grounds in Vancouver. As a general rule of thumb, Athletic Park was used as the home grounds whenever Con Jones was not involved in bankrolling the team in question.
June 4, 1921 featured a unique occurrence when there were two professional lacrosse matches played in the City of Vancouver on the same day, at the same time, when Athletic Park hosted New Westminster in that day’s British Columbia Lacrosse Association game while Con Jones Park across town hosted the visiting Victoria Capitals of the rival Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association.
The modern day site is now dissected and overrun by bridge overpasses, roads, condominiums, concrete, and commercial buildings – with no hint of evidence remaining whatsoever that at one time there was once a 6,000 seat stadium in existence there.
BEACON HILL PARK / CALEDONIAN GROUNDS / ROYAL ATHLETIC PARK / OAK BAY GROUNDS / THE STADIUM
There were five playing grounds used by lacrosse teams in Victoria during the field lacrosse era – with three of them used by the professionals, albeit for just four games.
Beacon Hill Park hosted the first organised lacrosse match played in British Columbia, in 1886, and was used by Victoria senior teams until around 1891.
The Caledonian Grounds, which dated from 1887, replaced Beacon Hill Park as the home field for the Victoria Lacrosse Club during the 1891 season, with the first recorded senior game played there on August 15 of that year. Located in the James Bay neighbourhood of Victoria, the park was bounded by Government, Niagara, St. Andrews and Simcoe Streets and owned by the St. Andrews and Caledonian Society.
It is unknown what year the Caledonian Grounds ceased to be used for sporting events and redeveloped into residential housing – although it has been described as one of the last city blocks in the neighbourhood to see redevelopment.
Royal Athletic Park, located on the block bounded by Caledonia, Vancouver, Pembroke, and Cook Streets, was constructed in 1908 as a much needed replacement for the Caledonian Grounds and the Oak Bay Grounds. It underwent renovations after a fire in 1967 and the grounds are still in use for field lacrosse and other amateur sports to this very day.
Of the four professional lacrosse games played in Victoria, one was played at Royal Athletic Park and one at the Oak Bay Grounds. Both of these matches were New Westminster-Vancouver BCLA league games that took place in Victoria during the 1913 season.
The Oak Bay Grounds – now known as Windsor Park – hold the distinction for providing the first Victoria-based team to challenge and compete for the Mann Cup, in 1913. Oak Bay lost their first game 13-0 and then defaulted their second game to Vancouver Athletic Club.
The two other professional matches played in Victoria however actually involved a Victoria team. Both of these took place in June 1921 when Vancouver promoter Con Jones created the Victoria Capitals, a team made up of local lads and Eastern imports, for his upstart Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association as competition for his Vancouver Lacrosse Club.
In May of 1920, a new stadium was constructed on a vacant lot behind the Empress Hotel on Douglas Street where the Crystal Garden is now located.
Referred in the local press as just ‘The Stadium’, it was used mostly by local professional and amateur baseball teams – but it was also briefly the home field for the Victoria Capitals lacrosse team in 1921. The Stadium hosted two home games for Victoria before the league folded after five games and three weeks of play.
Its capacity was reported to be 7,000 and the Victoria Daily Colonist spoke very highly of the venue during its construction – giving it high hopes for the future.
As it turned out, the Stadium’s sporting existence was very brief – no more than four years – as it was demolished at some point before the Crystal Garden was built and opened on the site in June 1925.
(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA Sp P90; CVA Sp P2; Leonard Frank collection 1939; CLHOF X994.10; CVA PAN P87; CVA 371-596; CVA 371-576; CVA 99-870; CVA 99-1020; BC Archives BCA G-02816)