Category Archives: Player

Tom Rennie

CVA Sp P91 Tom Rennie
There are not many good photographs existing for Tom Rennie. This one dates from 1910.

TOM RENNIE
(1883/84 – November 21, 1960)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1903-1915)

Tom Rennie was born in Newcastle, New Brunswick. He moved to New Westminster with his family in 1889 by way of Seattle.

He played for Sapperton in the city intermediate league and went east with the Salmonbellies in 1901 as a spare. He was a reserve for the seniors in 1902 and joined the New Westminster Salmonbellies fulltime in the following year at the tender age of 19. Even before turning senior, Tom and his brother George were decent enough junior players that the Vancouver Daily World observed on October 4, 1901 that “the Rennie boys showed up much better than several of the older players” in New Westminster’s losing effort that day versus the Vancouver YMCA team.

Rennie started out at inside home but as the Montreal Gazette observed, this was “…a mistake as his position is farther out” in the midfield, and he played like a midfielder out of position as he moved the ball outside to work it around instead of driving at the net.

He missed six weeks of the season in 1910 when he ran into a hard body check by Johnny Howard and fractured his shoulder blade as a result. He then injured himself again during a practice in August after returning, missing yet several more weeks.

He moved to the United States in 1913 and worked as a lineman on large construction projects – leaving the Royal City on a bad note when striking electricians were replaced by outsiders. “Never again,” he exclaimed to the attendant media as he boarded the train south.

Tom Rennie played seven seasons during the professional era in New Westminster – scoring 13 goals during the course of 73 games. He generally played on the defensive side of the midfield, although in 1914 and parts of the 1909 and 1912 seasons he covered the role of the team’s centerman.  His career 38 penalties and 235 minutes placed him in the top-ten list for most penalised professional players on the Pacific Coast.

tom rennie 1912 game
Rare photograph of Tom Rennie in action during a 1912 game at Recreation Park.

He was discharged from the United States Army in August 1919 and took a train from Philadelphia back to New Westminster, sparking rumours he may be returning to the field for the Salmonbellies. He discounted such rumours in correspondence with his old home town, stating “I am one of the few who quit while they were still champions”.

He became seriously ill with smallpox in January 1924 while living in Los Angeles, but a month later he make a suitable enough recovery to be involved, along with his brother-in-law Gordon ‘Dode’ Sinclair, and such ex-Vancouver players as Jake Davis, Vernon Green (the central figure involved in the 1908 gunshot riot at Queens Park), and Charlie ‘Smiler’ McCuaig, with the introduction of the sport to Southern California.

Although a four-team league was planned, ultimately a two-team championship was played between the Long Beach and Los Angeles Canadian-Californian teams, with Tom Rennie as the referee.

He was residing in Southgate, California at the time of his father’s passing in early January 1941.

Tom Rennie passed away in Seattle, his home for the last twenty years of his life, on November 21, 1960 after a long illness. He was survived by his wife Gertrude and his son Robert.

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA Sp P91 excerpt; CVA 371-585 excerpt)

tom rennie stats

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)

Gordon ‘Dode’ Sinclair

‘Dode’ Sinclair as a pro Salmonbellies player in 1922.

VICTOR GORDON ‘DODE’ SINCLAIR
(July 18, 1898 – June 22, 1958)

New Westminster Salmonbellies (1920; 1922)
Long Beach (1924)

Victor Gordon Sinclair – better known in New Westminster sporting circles by his nickname ‘Dode’ Sinclair – was born on Mayne Island, British Columbia in 1898. His parents were James William Sinclair and Annie Isabel Irving. His father was born in Washington Territory and had moved to New Westminster in 1875, becoming a teacher in the Fraser Valley school district for twenty-five years, then later employed on steamboats and finally the British Columbia Electric Railway as an accountant.

Young Gordon moved to New Westminster at a very early age and in his youth he played on the John Robson Elementary School lacrosse team in 1913. Along with lacrosse, he was also known in the Royal City as an amateur basketball and football player.

His older brother was Irving Sinclair [1893-1969], who became famous as one of San Francisco’s best-known commercial artists from the mid-1920s into the 1960s. ‘Dode’ also had five sisters, two of whom ended up marrying the brothers George and Tom Rennie, of New Westminster Salmonbellies fame from a decade or so prior. When Sinclair joined the professional Salmonbellies in 1920, he found himself team-mates with his brother-in-law George in what was Dode’s rookie season as a professional while Rennie making his final curtain-call in a 20-year career.

‘Dode’ served in the Canadian military during the Great War, and in October 1917 Private Sinclair was awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct as a battalion runner on the front lines with the 47th Battalion. He had been serving at the front lines for several months and during combat near Lens in France, his company had come under fire and every sergeant was killed in the fighting, with the sergeant-major and two officers wounded and put out of action. Sinclair and one other soldier were the only remaining runners after four other runners had either been killed, wounded by snipers, or incapacitated by shell shock. Along with the medal and ribbon, he received a letter of commendation from the company’s brigadier general.

Sinclair signed with the professional New Westminster outfit in July 1920 and it immediately caused a major rift with the Royal City amateurs, as the pros had been raiding the amateur side that year for new blood. George Feeney and Harold ‘Haddie’ Stoddart had already been scooped by Manager Tom Gifford – and when Sinclair then backpedaled his commitment to the amateurs and jumped to the pros, the fortunes of the amateur Salmonbellies in their pursuit of the Mann Cup were put in some serious doubt. At the time of his departure from the amateur squad, Sinclair had been tied second on the goal-scoring list for the Pacific Coast Amateur Lacrosse Association, and second-place for his team.

The war hero ‘Dode’ Sinclair in 1917.

He missed out the 1921 season when he found himself stuck in Australia due to a shipping strike which prevented him finding passage back home. Sinclair returned for the 1922 season but did not seem to have the impact or promise he had shown in 1920. His short professional career of two seasons spanned 25 games and he chalked up 3 goals to his name, from playing in almost all matches as a substitute and a half-dozen starts.

Sinclair left New Westminster in 1923 and began working in California when he gained employment sinking oil wells for Standard Oil and this proved more profitable than what his lacrosse career could ever provide. The following year or so he owned and operated an appliance store in Los Angeles. Then around 1942 he made a career change once more and became an orchard farmer, running an orange grove in Los Angeles County prior to acquiring his own grove, a year prior to his death, in the city of Exeter in Tulare County.

Despite departing the lacrosse hot-bed of British Columbia for greener pastures down south, he never forgot his old love for the game. In 1924, along with his brother-in-law Tom Rennie and ex-Vancouver pro Charlie ‘Smiler’ McCuaig, they helped introduce lacrosse in the Long Beach area and a 1924 lacrosse championship was played between Long Beach and Los Angeles Canadian-Californian teams. In 1938 when the Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association started play in Southern California and raided the Canadian box leagues for players, ‘Dode’ Sinclair became the manager for the Los Angeles Canucks entry in the four-team league, which was made up of star-players from the New Westminster Adanacs and a sprinkling of Richmond Farmers and Vancouver Burrards talent. The PCLA lasted around a month before it folded in mid-season after games on January 29, 1939 due to poor arena conditions.

Victor Gordon Sinclair passed away on June 22, 1958 at his home located southeast of Exeter, California. He was survived by his wife Edna but there is no mention of any surviving children in his obituaries. While long-forgotten today as one of the many obscure, fringe players who have come and gone throughout the sport’s history, ‘Dode’ Sinclair’s short career is proof enough that all players great and not-so-great, superstar or bench-warming substitute, all have stories to tell from their lives lived.

(PHOTO SOURCES: Vancouver Province October 16, 1917; Vancouver Sun April 11, 1922)

Bay Carter

Bay Carter with the Vancouver Terminals, 1923

BAYARD (BAY) MARSHALL CARTER
(1895 – October 26, 1974)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1914-1915; 1919)
Vancouver Terminals (1920; 1921-1924)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1921)

Bay Carter was part of a core group of local-bred players that included Everett McLaren, Harry ‘Fat’ Painter, and Eustace Gillanders who fortified the Vancouver Terminals defense during their post-war campaigns of the 1920s.

Bayard – known by all as ‘Bay’ – was the son of Emily Lavina Carter (née Barr), who later married Andrew Grieve Waddell, the chief of police of Steveston between 1914 and 1918 and the first chief of police in Richmond. Young Bay would have been around five years-old at the time of his mother’s second marriage on April 19, 1900, which was reported in the press as far away as Owen Sound, Ontario, near where his new step-father originated from. His mother was born in London, England and she was recorded as a 30-year-old widow on their marriage certificate. Waddell’s obituary from 1931 mentions two stepsons, which would have been Bay and his younger brother Stan.

Carter attended the same high school as the Painter brothers with whom he later played alongside on the Vancouver Terminals in the 1920s. Both Bay Carter and ‘Fat’ Painter were also members of the Vancouver Athletic Club senior lacrosse team although they never played in the same season with each other – as ‘Fat’ had moved up to the professional ranks in 1914 when Bay joined the senior amateur team as a much-needed replacement to help fill all the departures of its players to the professional league. Out of around 30 players trying out for the team, Carter was one of those named to the roster on May 13, 1914 and he soon established himself as a crack defender.

A young Bay Carter as a rookie with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1914.

When the First World War intervened, Bay Carter served overseas in the military for three to four years – first in the Canadian field artillery with the 46th Battery from Kingston, Ontario and the later as a Royal Air Force pilot. He received his officer’s commission as a lieutenant in 1917. He returned home to Vancouver on July 16, 1919.

He landed work as a mining engineer at Britannia Mines. He then graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science, all the while playing professional lacrosse to pay for his education.

With the Vancouver Terminals, his usual position on the playing field was at first defence and second defence, although when needed he could slot in anywhere from point up through the defensive ranks to centreman. The year after Bay had turned pro and signed with the Terminals, his kid brother Stan Carter also signed with the team and filled the role of substitute.

In one match at Queens Park, on June 24, 1922, Bay had to come to the rescue when his brother was embroiled in a fight with ‘Haddie’ Stoddart of the Salmonbellies, which then quickly exploded into a free-for-all brawl which saw benchwarmers and spectators from the stands spill out on the field to settle old and new scores. It took ten minutes for police and firemen to break up the fight, only for it to erupt again a few seconds later. When the riot finally ended and the dust had settled, and not before old Archie Macnaughton had walloped Pat Feeney in the head with his cane, it was found that most of Vancouver’s equipment – sticks, gloves, and caps – littered about on the ground …had now disappeared! – pilfered by New Westminster youngsters who had run off with anything that had been left laying about during the ensuing chaos.

Once his professional lacrosse days were over, Bay Carter would then find employment embarking on a 36-year career in marketing and advertising. He found this line of work the perfect calling for him, as his imposing six-foot-two frame gave him a deliberate manner of appearance while his mind was full of imagination.

Carter worked for the Vancouver Daily World newspaper for two years, later moving to Farm & Home for eight years. Then the Vancouver Province newspaper became his final employer from January 1931 until his retirement as their advertising director in January 1959. During his years with the Province, he was promoted to assistant advertising manager in 1936, advertising manager in 1941, and director in 1947. When he retired from the newspaper, he was bid adieu with send-off articles printed in both his former employer’s pages as well as those of the crosstown rival Vancouver Sun.

His residence at the time of his retirement was a house located at 6069 Oak Street in Vancouver.

Bayard Carter passed away in 1974. He was survived by his two daughters, Shirley Miller and Nancy Baird, and five grandchildren; his wife Hilda had predeceased him in 1972.

(PHOTO SOURCES: Vancouver Province April 7, 1923; Vancouver Sun September 16, 1914)

Aaron ‘Bunt’ Watson

May 1921 press photograph of Aaron ‘Bunt’ Watson with the Vancouver Terminals.

AARON W. ‘BUNT’ WATSON
(1896~98 – October 1, 1929)

Vancouver Terminals (1921-1922)

Although Aaron Watson’s nickname was actually ‘Bunt’, the Vancouver newspapers mistakenly referred to him as ‘Bun’ – and so ‘Bun’ was what ‘Bunt’ Watson was generally called while he played on the Coast. Aaron Watson was a product of Cornwall, Ontario and had played for the Cornwall Colts starting from 1916 onward, quickly regarded in his rookie season as the best home (midfield) man to come from the Factory City.

Heading into the 1921 campaign, the Vancouver Terminals were plagued with a divisive contract dispute between the players and management. A large majority of the Terminals players bolted the club to sign with Con Jones’s brand-new, rival Vancouver Lacrosse Club in his newly-founded Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association, leaving the remaining Terminals organisation in the lurch and scrambling on short notice to find replacement bodies. ‘Newsy’ Lalonde came to the rescue when he recruited eight Easterners to make the trip across the country to sign with the Terminals and play alongside him, with Aaron ‘Bunt’ Watson proving to be one of the best components of that mixed-bag contingent.

Of those Easterners brought west by Lalonde in 1921, Watson was by far at the top of the list whom the Terminals were eager to re-sign the following season. Despite playing just two seasons for Vancouver, his 23 goals in just 34 games places him at an impressive 20th for career goal-scoring totals during the professional lacrosse era on the Pacific Coast. He finished fourth in scoring for the Terminals in 1921 and second in 1922.

‘Bunt’ was also noted for his speed and toughness, so much so the Salmonbellies had to pay special attention in specifically assigning defenders on him.  What Watson may have lacked in stick skills and brilliance, he made up with shooting power and more so his physical prowess to bull and smash his way through the New Westminster defensive line. Bill Patchell was particularly effective in shadowing and shutting down ‘Bunt’, although Waston did gain instant credibility and respect as one of Vancouver’s toughest players when he laid out the Salmonbellies’ heavyweight enforcer Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall during his debut season with the Terminals. The pair would have multiple scraps throughout the season, one of which spilled into the stands and entangled spectators from both camps of supporters. After breaking up the two combatants and shooing them off for an early shower, Fred ‘Mickey’ Ion’s bloodied shirt from the fracas made the referee look like he had just worked a shift in an abattoir.

During his time in Vancouver, Watson would sometimes referee amateur PCALA senior league games.

Watson was expected to return for a third season with the Vancouver Terminals and was reported in early May 1923 to have agreed to a deal and would be making his way west from his recreational residence in Massena, New York, just across the border from his hometown of Cornwall. He was even contemplating a permanent move to Vancouver – but despite confirmation he was in transit west, he never showed up in Vancouver nor communicated his change in plans. It is very possible his father had some part in the decision and advised his son to remain home in the East – or he may have had a change of heart regarding Vancouver’s community payment method of split gate receipts. Whatever the reason, his hard-hitting physical absence was duly noted by observers and fans early that season.

He was married on November 28, 1916 to Anna Isabella Smith at the Methodist parsonage in Cornwall.

Watson was involved in a tragic, fatal accident on September 30, 1929 when the automobile he was driving along the state route heading to Ogdensburg, New York, failed to make a curve and struck a culvert. The automobile then leapt across a ditch, with the top of the vehicle coming apart and crashing into a tree. One male passenger was killed instantly while Watson suffered a fractured skull. ‘Bunt’ made it to Hepburn Hospital in Ogdensburg in critical condition but died from his injuries two days later. The two other men in his automobile survived and escaped with cuts and bruises.

Forty years later in 1969, Aaron ‘Bunt’ Watson was inducted to Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame in the Lacrosse category.

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA 99-1018.23)

Everett McLaren

Everett McLaren with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1913.
Everett McLaren with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1913.

EVERETT JAMES McLAREN
(1893 – September 4, 1948)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1913)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver Terminals (1920; 1921-1924)

Everett McLaren played with various Vancouver professional squads for seven seasons.  Coming up through the ranks of the famed Vancouver Athletic Club, he was originally signed by Con Jones in 1915 to re-train and fill a more defensive role, although that experiment did not seem to stick and he slotted into the roster in his familiar centreman spot. Later in his career, rejoining the Terminals after his brief stint playing in Con Jones’s rival league in 1921, he did spend more time patrolling the defensive end of the midfield.

His speed and more so his fit physique made up for any lack of goal scoring, as Everett McLaren was the second-most penalised player during the professional era on the Pacific Coast with 57 infractions. His time spent in the sin bin clocked him with 283 minutes, placing him seventh in penalty minutes.

In the 1920s he saw himself named the captain of the Vancouver Terminals. During one game, on June 2, 1923, the Vancouver Daily Province noted that Everett McLaren was the first-ever player in the league fined $5 – for swearing at the referee, when he implied Referee Grumpy Spring was blind and then vocally protested a penalty, “you’re a blank blank!” The fine was a new rule initiated at the start of the 1923 season to help clean up play and ‘unseemingly conduct’. McLaren later went on record saying that in the future when he needed to do any impromptu speaking to the referee, he would not – and simply rely on tapping out his messages or finger wig-wagging gestures behind Referee Spring’s back.

Outside of his lacrosse career, very few details are known about Everett McLaren – one of the many Vancouver professional lacrosse players whose story has been sadly lost to history.

Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association action at Con Jones Park in 1921 as the Victoria Capitals and Vancouver Lacrosse Club battle it out. The player wearing #7 on the draw for Vancouver is believed to be Everett McLaren.

The Vancouver Daily World newspaper mentioned in a May 1915 edition that Everett McLaren, along with teammate Charlie McCuaig, were in Kansas City and on their way back to re-join the Vancouver team for the 1915 season – their business for being in Kansas City is completely unknown. The pair seemed to travel together for employment throughout the western United States although the nature of their work is unknown. In August 1915 the pair, along with Fred ‘Mickey’ Ion, their pugilistic team-mate and future NHL hall-of-fame referee, headed to Saskatchewan together to work as harvesters.

As a veteran of two world wars, McLaren was active in the Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans Association and steward at the clubrooms located on Fraser Street in East Vancouver. Just prior to his passing, he had been busy working on securing a license to open a new veterans club in Marople.

The probable, unmarked resting place for Everett McLaren at Ocean View Cemetery in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Everett McLaren died suddenly on September 4, 1948, drowning in the Harrison River during a weekend fishing trip – his companion Joseph Francis also perishing on the river under unknown circumstances. He was well-known by local anglers, as McLaren had owned a cabin located on the Harrison River for 25 years. His body was found two miles from the mouth of river by one of his cabin neighbours. They were last seen alive heading up the river on a Sunday night, and their water-logged boat was found the following morning.

Obituary notices and newspapers reporting on his passing mention that he was survived by his wife Catherine along with a brother Robert, a local resident, and his sister Mrs. W.R. Strong, of Long Beach, California. No children are mentioned. He was buried five days later in an unmarked gravesite at Ocean View Cemetery in Burnaby, the final resting place for many of his contemporary team-mates from his playing days.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 99-31 excerpt; CVA 99-1018.8; author’s photograph)

Ernie Murray

Ernie Murray with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club, 1912.

ERNIE MURRAY
(born ca. 1887 – possibly December 23, 1967 ?)

Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs (ca.1907-1908)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1909-1910; 1912-1913)
North Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1911)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1911; 1918)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1921)

Inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965 as a charter member in the field player category, Ernie Murray played 10 seasons of professional ball between 1909 and 1921.

Like many local home-brew Vancouver players from that era, no personal information is now known about him outside of the game. He played senior lacrosse in 1907 and 1908 for the Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs, alongside three of his four lacrosse-playing brothers. Con Jones would then sign “the speedy little home fielder” in 1909 for his Vancouver Lacrosse Club team when the professionals first became organised as a league under the British Columbia Lacrosse Association name that year.

In November 1907, he was suspended by the Canadian Amateur Athletic Union after travelling to California with the Vancouver Athletic Club rugby team for a match being played there versus McGill University. There appears to have been some protest made by McGill University regarding his playing status which would affect the collegians’ own playing status, so Murray chose instead to watch from the grandstands.

The majority of his lacrosse playing career was with the various Vancouver teams, although he did bolt to the New Westminster Salmobellies for the 1911 season after having a disagreement with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club president and money man, Con Jones.

Ernie Murray was one of a group of four local Vancouver players (along with goalkeeper Dave Gibbons, George Matheson, and ‘Toots’ Clarkson) who quit the team in early June 1910 after they went to Jones with demands for more money. With the Eastern imports that season earning $50 per week, the four upshots ‘held up Jones’ for more pay because they were only getting half that amount per week – but felt they were doing the lion’s share of the hard work while the imports reaped all the benefits.

Despite the hold-outs having a lot of sympathy from the local fans, Con Jones refused their demand of $40 per week. Along with Gibbons and Clarkson, Ernie Murray quit the team for the rest of the season while Matheson eventually caved in and re-joined the team in August. The following year, the cross-town rivals New Westminster Salmonbellies would approach Murray and sign him for one season – before seemingly making amends with Con Jones in time for the 1912 campaign and returning to the greenshirts.

When the Vancouver Lacrosse Club folded mid-season in July 1913, Ernie Murray found himself once again embroiled in a wage dispute with Con Jones. His November 1913 lawsuit filed against Jones was dismissed in county court after Murray tried to sue Jones for $650 which he alleged remained from a $1,000 contract. The judge ruled in Con Jones’s favour, as Jones stated he had promised $50 per week so long as play continued and had not guaranteed any contracts for 20 weeks of salary, as Murray claimed, due to uncertainly whether the 1913 season would be completed.

Ernie Murray would later get picked up by the replacement Vancouver Athletics in 1914. He would return to New Westminster in 1918 when ‘Grumpy’ Spring signed him to the Salmonbellies for the Mainland Lacrosse Association season.

Ernie Murray played in the midfield zone usually at third home or second home, occasionally slotted as the centreman. In 1920, he was primarily used in a substitute role, while the following season, his last as a player, he found himself moved up on the attack as the outside home, a position he had played back in his senior days with the Maple Leafs. His final season saw him in the role of player-manager for Vancouver in Con Jones’s rival Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association outfit. When that league folded in mid-season on June 13, 1921, after 5 games, Murray packed in his playing career.

He appeared in 69 professional games, scoring 31 goals – which places him 17th in career scoring for players during the pro field era.

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA 99-43)

ernie murray stats

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, the same year the Salmonbellies began to utilise short passing, a new development taking root within the game. 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. He gained fame for his ball-ragging ability to kill time on the clock. 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 ‘Tulip’ or 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 (or his sister’s 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)

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.