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.
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.
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 played two seasons of intermediate lacrosse with the New Westminster West Ends before graduating to the senior squad in 1906. Starting in 1909, Len Turnbull would play 11 seasons of professional ball for the Salmonbellies, clocking up 105 appearances and bagging an even 100 goals for the redshirts.
His role on Salmonbellies team was the outside home position on the attacking line – paired up with the great ‘Grumpy’ Spring for most of his career until Spring’s retirement after the 1921 season. In his last two seasons of play, he usually found himself alongside Thure Storme whenever the injury-prone Scandinavian was healthy. For reasons unknown, Len was sometimes nicknamed the ‘Old Tulip’.
In October 1910, the two brothers both visited Spokane, Washington – their names well-known enough as lacrosse stars for their presence in the city to garner specific mention in the local newspaper.
Len Turnbull signed a contract with the Toronto Lacrosse Club in 1912 along with fellow teammates Cliff Spring and ‘Buck’ Marshall but then renegaded and handed back the advance money after Toronto’s failure to also sign Gordon Spring and Bill Fitzgerald – which was apparently part of the agreement. Cliff Spring and Len Turnbull finally did sign and play for Toronto of the Dominion Lacrosse Union in 1914, scoring 23 goals in 18 games in his lone season not wearing New Westminster colours.
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.
At the time of his brother Bill’s untimely passing in 1933, he was residing in Penticton, British Columbia.
Len Turnbull worked as a mail clerk for the Pacific Great Eastern railroad. He retired at age 60, two years before he passed away in 1952 at his home on Old Yale Road in Surrey, British Columbia from carcinoma of the colon.
At the time of his death, he was a widower, and, according to funeral records, it appears he had no living next of kin besides his sister Tryphina Olmstead and a cousin. Len Turnball was interred in the International Order of Old Fellows cemetery section located within the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster, British Columbia. At his funeral, which was reported by the local press to have been well-attended, two of his old teammates from his glory days, Jim Gifford and George Rennie, were his pallbearers.
In 1971, Leonard Turnbull was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in the Field Player category.
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 he 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.