Tag Archives: New Westminster Salmonbellies

Bernie Feedham

Bernie Feedham, 1922
Bernie Feedham, 1922

(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.

Bernie Feedham as a spare with the Vancouver East Ends junior champions in 1909-10.
Bernie Feedham as a spare with the Vancouver East Ends junior champions in 1909-10.

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.

bernie feedham stats

(PHOTO SOURCES: CLHOF X979.150.1; CLHOF collection)


Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall

Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall, 1920
Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall, 1920

(1887/88 – May 23, 1975)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1908-1911; 1913-1915; 1918-1924)
Toronto Lacrosse Club (1912)

The heavyweight of the New Westminster Salmonbellies defence, Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall started playing lacrosse in 1902 with the New Westminster West Ends in the local city league. He appeared in some senior amateur matches as early as 1904 but his last full season with the West Ends would be 1907. He joined the senior team during the 1908 season when the Salmonbellies required some youngsters to make the jump and help fortify their roster due to crippling injuries incurred by the team after their successful challenge against the Montréal Shamrocks for the Minto Cup.

Marshall’s first full professional season would come in 1910, having joined the team on a permanent basis in the latter half of the previous season. He developed into a mainstay on the defense playing alongside Salmonbellies captain Tommy Gifford.

He played one season in Ontario when he signed with the Toronto Lacrosse Club (also known as the Torontos) of the Dominion Lacrosse Union in 1912. Winning the league championship that season, Marshall was planning to return to the Torontos for the following season but the Salmonbellies management also demanded his services, so the eastern club relented under pressure and released him.

On his return from Ontario, and with Gifford retired from the playing field and now managing the team, in 1913 ‘Buck’ Marshall paired up on defence with easterner Johnny Howard. Combined with ‘Bun’ Clark backstopping them both in goal, the trio became a formidable and impregnable defensive wall against their Vancouver opponents during the next three seasons.

His usual position was as the point or coverpoint man, the two deepest defensive players on a field lacrosse team back then, although Marshall still managed to score the occasional goal here and there – including an incredible hat-trick on July 31, 1922.

While his penalty totals and minutes may seem rather high, statistics don’t paint a clear picture on account of his lengthy career compared to other equally or more penalised players with much shorter careers. Considering the roughness of the game back then, ‘Buck’ was if anything a restrained defenseman with an average of just 2.45 minutes sent off per game in an era when most penalties were doled out in generous 3 and 5 minute increments.

That didn’t mean however ‘Buck’ backed down when the play got rough, as he managed to have a few dust-ups over the years – such as the penalty-riddled match of June 26, 1915 when Marshall was tossed out of the game with 55 penalty minutes logged to his credit after a scrap with George Roberts of Vancouver. But keep in mind that back then, when a player was thrown out of a game, he was penalised in minutes by how much time still remained in the match. A total of 338 minutes of penalties between both teams would arise from that bitter contest, which saw 4 Salmonbellies and 2 Greenshirts – including goalkeeper ‘Boss’ Johnson – sent off early and both teams playing short for the rest of the game as only 15 players remained on the pitch for both teams.

Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall, December 1967
Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall, December 1967

Prior to turning professional, he tried his hand at baseball when he played first-base for a painters’ team in 1906. He also played in goal for the Royals soccer team in 1910 until amateur authorities objected.

Marshall was also noted for being a championship bowler. During a tournament in the winter of 1923-24 bowling for the New Westminster Elks, ‘Buck’ took first place and set a provincial record, scoring a total of 713 from three games. In 1911 he was on a bowling team that won the trophy for Pacific Northwest champions. His highest score was reported in 1924 to be 268 with eight strikes and two splits.

‘Buck’ Marshall played in 131 games on the Pacific Coast and scored 12 goals and 14 points – numbers which probably make him the leading scorer amongst defensive pro players. He ranks fourth in career games played and led in penalty infractions with 59 – although his 321 penalty minutes place him in fifth amongst all Coast pro players.

He appeared in 13 of the 14 professional seasons played on the Coast between 1909 and 1924; only one of three players, team-mates Cliff ‘Doughy’ Spring and James ‘Pat’ Feeney the other two, to play in as many seasons. No player managed to suit up for all 14 pro seasons in British Columbia. His final match in professional lacrosse took place on May 28, 1924 and ended on a bad note: ‘Buck’ sat out the following game due to cracked ribs he had sustained – but never saw the playing field again, as the professional league folded less than a week later.

Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1967. He was born in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba in 1887 or 1888 and passed away on May 23, 1975.

buck marshall stats

(PHOTO SOURCES: CLHOF X979.150.1; X994.43)

James ‘Pat’ Feeney

James ‘Pat’ Feeney, 1920
James ‘Pat’ Feeney, 1920

(May 15, 1886 – June 19, 1948)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1905-1915; 1918-1923)

The great little centre” known by all as ‘Pat’ Feeney was regarded as one of the fastest players – if not, the fastest – in Canada during his day – even when at the twilight of his career. When the Ottawa Capitals came west to challenge the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the Minto Cup in 1908, in their review of the opposition, the Ottawa Citizen described him as “a small, stocky chap, but looks fast and is said to have bundles of speed and grit.”

As well as his speed which made him a constant threat on the midfield, his impressive stickhandling ability was described by his Toronto Tecumseh opponents during the New Westminster Provincial Exhibition Tournament of 1907 as “the greatest they had ever seen”, along with that of his Salmonbellies team-mate Len Turnbull.

Both New Westminster boys had attracted the attention of the Tecumseh management so much so that in October 1907 there were attempts to lure ‘Pat’ and Len eastwards to suit up for the Tecumsehs for the 1908 season. Instead, both remained in their home town – and when they did go east that year, it was to help the New Westminster Salmonbellies win the first of their many Minto Cup championships.

Oddly enough, when Toronto Tecumsehs returned to British Columbia for their 1909 Minto Cup challenge against New Westminster, Feeney was forced to sit out the series when he came down with a case of rheumatism which sidelined him for half the season.

“The Fastest Centre Fielder in Canada”, ca. 1908
“The Fastest Centre Fielder in Canada”, ca. 1908

He stepped into the shoes of the legendary Alex ‘Dad’ Turnbull as the Salmonbellies’ pivot player in the midfield when age caught up to ‘Dad’ and he was forced to retire due to injuries. ‘Pat’ Feeney learnt his trade as a student of the veteran Turnbull and his playing style mirrored that of ‘Dad’.

In 1908, he was chosen for the Canadian Olympic lacrosse team but never ended up making the trip to London.

Amongst the professionals on the Pacific Coast, Feeney is tied with teammates Cliff ‘Doughy’ Spring and Dave ‘Buck’ Marshall for the most seasons played – with 13 pro campaigns under his belt between 1909 and 1923. Only Spring played in more games than ‘Pat’ Feeney’s 141 appearances for New Westminster.

‘Pat’ ranks in at sixth place in the Coast pro game both for career points (100) as well as goals scored (95). He was sent off for 34 penalties and accumulated 203 minutes, making him the 13th most penalised player on the Coast during the pro era – although his penalty totals were buttressed by 8 or 9 games where fisticuffs or ‘unsporting’ play were a likely cause.

Otherwise, by and large, he was a relatively clean player for the era, when he wanted to be. He played four seasons without a single penalty and two more seasons with just one lone infraction in the campaign assessed to his name.

James ‘Pat’ Feeney, ca.1938
‘Pat’ Feeney at a Salmonbellies re-union, ca.1938

But when the situation required it, the Irish veteran could be devilishly crafty and even annoying at times – and proud of it.

In one August 1923 game, in the final months of his career and knowing his playing days were numbered, the wily ‘Pat’ trotted on as a substitute in the second quarter and proceeded to goad his opponents into fighting as a means to draw them off to the sidelines to serve penalties. Knowing full well he was up against a soft referee in the guise of ‘Grumpy’ Spring, Feeney took advantage of the situation and exploited it to the fullest – his logic being that having the Vancouver Terminals down by a better player in exchange for the old vet was a better advantage for his New Westminster team-mates.

Whether it was deemed ‘sporting’ or not is another matter. A bitter Vancouver Daily Province would bemoan the following Monday morning about how Feeney was done as a player and had spent the entire game laughing about his antics from the sin bin and getting away with them.

‘Pat’ Feeney would manage the New Westminster Salmonbellies for one season, in 1922, relegating himself into a substitute role in which he remained until he retired from active play at the end of the following season.

His parents moved to New Westminster in 1881, five years prior to his birth. For his employment Feeney first worked in the cigar manufacturing trade before his appointment to the staff of the liquor store in New Westminster in 1921. He retired from there around three years prior to his death.

James ‘Pat’ Feeney passed away at the age of 62 in 1948 – survived by a son and a step-daughter who both were living on Vancouver Island at the time of his passing. He was posthumously inducted to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1966.

pat feeney

(PHOTO SOURCES: CLHOF X979.150.1; X994.84; X994.170; Vancouver Daily Province May 21, 1923)

Vancouver Province cartoon of lacrosse players with referee ‘Grumpy’ Spring trotting along behind; ’Pat’ refers to ‘Pat’ Feeney, regarded one of the fast players of the era.
Vancouver Province cartoon of lacrosse players and referee ‘Grumpy’ trotting behind; ’Pat’ refers to ‘Pat’ Feeney, respected as one of the fastest players in the game – even at age 37 when this was drawn.

Alex ‘Sandy’ Gray

‘Sandy’ Gray keeping ‘Dot’ Phelan at bay, 1911
‘Sandy’ Gray keeping Vancouver’s ‘Dot’ Phelan at bay, 1911

(June 24, 1884 – June 28, 1966)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1903-1911)

A stalwart wall in goal for the New Westminster Salmonbellies at the start of their Minto Cup championship run, Alex ‘Sandy’ Gray was the best goalie on the Coast during the three seasons (1909, 1910, and 1911) in which he played professional lacrosse for the Salmonbellies.

Prior to the advent of the professional game, he had played senior amateur lacrosse for New Westminster since 1903 when he made his debut at the age of 18. He took over from the great Bob Cheyne, who was forced to retire to due failing eyesight. Early in his career, he occasionally played at defensive coverpoint when Dick Eickhoff went in goal.

Alex Gray was the brother of Arthur Wellesley ‘Wells’ Gray, a lacrosse player in his own right and later – as an elected official and provincial cabinet minister – the man responsible for creating some of British Columbia’s earliest provincial parks such as Tweedsmuir and Manning Parks as well as the provincial park in the Cariboo which bears his name.

‘Sandy’ Gray, ca.1908
‘Sandy’ Gray, ca.1908

In action photographs, ‘Sandy’ is unmistakably identifiable with his dark peaked cap, lanky build, skinny legs, and gangly posture while parked in front of the goal.

Gray played a total of 40 pro games and won 27 of them – 2 of them with shutouts. He had a .675 winning record and 4.63 goals-against average, statistics that would lead all Coast pro goalkeepers in both of those categories. He was also the most penalised goalkeeper in the Coast pro game with 9 penalties and 65 minutes to his name – most of those accumulated during his final campaign.

‘Sandy’ Gray retired after the 1911 season, in which New Westminster lost hold of the Minto Cup to the greenshirts of the Vancouver Lacrosse Club. He would then be replaced in goal by ‘Bun’ Clark, lured away from the champions to suit up for the redshirts of the Royal City.

He passed away while at Royal Columbian Hospital, four days after celebrating his 82nd birthday, convalescing from a broken hip he had suffered on May 3, 1966. Outside of lacrosse, ‘Sandy’ Gray worked for 34 years as the provincial government agent at the New Westminster courthouse until his retirement in 1949. He was survived by his unmarried daughter Merle, who resided at the same home as him located at 1821 Nanaimo Street near Grimston Park, and his two sons Alexander Lloyd Gray and Alastair Anton Gray.

sandy gray stats


Gordon ‘Grumpy’ Spring

Gordon ‘Grumpy’ Spring, July 1910
Gordon ‘Grumpy’ Spring, July 1910

(September 15, 1889 – September 21, 1949)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1908-1921)

Gordon ‘Grumpy’ Spring was a goal-scoring machine for the New Westminster Salmonbellies and the best pure offensive player to wear the redshirt sweater during the pro field lacrosse era.

After he retired in 1921, he became a referee in the pro league – and then later became the manager of the New Westminster Salmonbellies during the years of the Great Depression and Second World War before he passed away in 1949 at the age of 60.

From 1909 to 1921, Spring played in 134 pro games on the Pacific Coast, scoring 191 goals and accumulating 34 penalties for 181 penalty minutes. In two of those seasons, he led all players in goal scoring – in 1912 with 29 goals and then 1915 with 23 goals. His lone senior appearance occurred during the infamous gunshot riot of 1908. Although a member of the 1908 team, he did not accompany the Salmonbellies back east in their Minto Cup challenge on account of his age and the cost of the trip.

Gordon Spring, ca.1908
Gordon Spring, ca.1908

Gordon Spring played the inside home position whose role in field lacrosse back then was simple: score goals. And with that task, ‘Grumpy’ Spring excelled very well indeed.

Spring’s typical play was to set himself up in a starting position between fifteen and twenty feet behind and the same distance to the side of the net outside the opposing goalkeeper’s forward line of sight. ‘Grumpy’ would then drive around and cut across the front of the net. He used a sawed off stick which he kept tucked close to him, making it difficult for his check to dislodge and defend against as the feeding pass to Spring came hurtling in. With one quick shot, timed for the incoming pass, he’d fire the ball over the keeper’s shoulder.

‘Grumpy’ was broad and heavy and not a fast runner, but so long as he was fed a good pass right at his body and the waiting pocket – and not above or off to his side where he would have to then expose his stick – he could execute his signature move from start to finish in but a few seconds, catching the keeper unaware of his attacking run until it was too late to re-act. As an early pioneer of the one-timer, it was a play he ran countless times to perfection.

Vancouver Province caricature of Referee Grumpy, 1923
Vancouver Province caricature of Referee ‘Grumpy’ Spring, May 1923

His best scoring output occurred on August 20, 1909 when he shell-shocked Vancouver goalkeeper Dave Gibbons for 5 goals – including a third-quarter hat-trick. In six other games he bagged 4 goals and he chalked up 20 games with hat-trick. With a total of 27 games under his belt with 3 or more goals scored to his name, ‘Grumpy’ Spring held a 7-game advantage in hat-tricks (or better) over his nearest challengers in Édouard ‘Newsy’ Lalonde and his brother Cliff Spring.

Despite being the greatest scoring player on the Coast during the heyday of the field era, his later accomplishments as a manager in the game were even more legendary and which ultimately secured ‘Grumpy’ Spring a place in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1966 as a Builder. He was manager of the New Westminster Salmonbellies when the team participated in the 1932 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, where lacrosse was a demonstration sport. He won two Mann Cups with the team in 1937 and 1943.

When he passed away on September 21, 1949, the news made the front page of the New Westminster Columbian newspaper as tributes showered in. “Lacrosse has lost its best friend and no fair-weather friend at that. He stayed with the game when it was at its lowest ebb, and loved it” stated the long-time New Westminster parks board chairman and lacrosse supporter Dan McKenzie.

I used to get a bigger kick out of the game when we had to pass the hat around in order to meet the bills, than now when money seems to be the main object” Grumpy was quoted as saying to McKenzie not long prior to his passing.

Gordon Spring was born in Bracebridge, Ontario (modern District of Muskoka) and moved west with his parents at the age of eight. Outside of lacrosse, ‘Grumpy’ worked as a plumber under the partnership firm name of Spring & Sybley for 35 years.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA Sp P91; NWMA IHP1727; Vancouver Daily Province May 21, 1923)

Cliff ‘Doughy’ Spring

Cliff Spring in The Columbian, 1924
Cliff Spring appearing in The Columbian newspaper, 1924

(January 24, 1888 – March 8, 1974)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1906-1913; 1915; 1918-1924)
Toronto Lacrosse Club (1914)
Ottawa Capitals (1916-1917)

Born in Draper Township of Muskoka District in Ontario, Cliff Spring moved west as a youngster. He played intermediate lacrosse with the New Westminster West Ends starting in 1900 through into 1905. In the summer of 1905, he went to play for a team in Kamloops but returned to New Westminster the following year to play a season with the New Westminster Reginas. While with the Reginas in 1906, he also appeared in between the posts as a call-up goalkeeper for the senior Salmonbellies. In 1907 he found himself back with the West Ends intermediates but then soon turned senior full-time that same year with the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

No other pair of brothers dominated the game during the professional era quite like the Spring Brothers, Cliff and Gordon – or better known to their fans and opponents as ‘Doughy’ and ‘Grumpy’. 18% of all the pro goals scored on the Coast between 1909 and 1924 were scored by a Spring. On New Westminster, ‘Grumpy’ Spring accounted for almost 19% of the Salmonbellies goals while brother ‘Doughy’ accounted for another almost 15% of the goals – keep in mind that ‘Grumpy’ did not play in the Salmonbellies’ last three professional campaigns. Therefore, their careers combined, the Spring Brothers were responsible for one-third of New Westminster’s goals.

Cliff Spring looking at memorabilia during the 1960s.
Cliff Spring looking at memorabilia during the 1960s.

When trying to determine which one of the Spring brothers was the better player, it boils down to comparing raw statistics with raw ability – and statistics don’t always paint a clear picture. Statistically speaking, brother ‘Grumpy’ would be ranked the better player on account of his goal-scoring – but as a student of the game played on the field, Doughy would be regarded the better player due to his knowledge and ability to play, competently when required, in any position on the field – including between the posts in goal – although his usual territory was in the midfield. Meanwhile his brother ‘Grumpy’ was really only dangerous and effective when parked in the vicinity around the enemy crease.

Cliff Spring led all professional players on the Pacific Coast with 157 career games played between 1909 and 1924. Ranked behind his brother Gordon, Cliff was second in all-time pro scoring with 154 goals and third in penalties with 55 infractions accounting for 274 minutes – ranking him at 8th for time spent sitting in the sin bin. Regarded as one of the finest stick-handlers developed, ‘Doughy’ was known for foregoing any form of protection, preferring to play barehanded and bareheaded.

Unlike his brother Gordon who played his entire lacrosse career for the New Westminster Salmonbellies, Cliff was lured to Ontario along with team-mate Len Turnbull in 1914 when they signed with the Toronto Lacrosse Club of the Dominion Lacrosse Union. Appearing in all 18 matches for the second-place squad, ‘Doughy’ Spring finished tied for sixth place in the league for goals with 24.

He returned to the Salmonbellies the following season but 1916 then found lacrosse in British Columbia suspending play for the remaining duration of the Great War. With the offer of a job and a split of the gate receipts, Cliff Spring packed up his bags once again and went back East – this time signing with the Ottawa Capitals of the National Lacrosse Union. ‘Doughy’ scored 32 goals in 18 games to lead the Capitals in goals and he finished fourth overall in league scoring in 1916. Unfortunately, his time spent playing in the NLU saw him experience something he was not familiar with back home in the Royal City: losing – as Ottawa limped to mediocre results in the standings during his two seasons. In his three seasons played in Ontario, he never saw a winning season above .500.

Knee problems almost forced him to retire after the 1921 campaign. The legendary ‘Bun’ Clark then retired and New Westminster was suddenly left without a goalkeeper – and at one point heading into the 1922 season it appeared the 34-year-old ‘Doughy’ was going to take up business in net.

While most players are winding down their careers at this stage due to age and injuries catching up with them – and with his brother now departed from the playing field – ‘Doughy’ nevertheless persevered and saw some of his finest seasons played for the Salmonbellies in the early 1920s as the field game began to regain some of its former popularity. However, like everyone else in the professional ranks, he was sidelined when the game died in June 1924.

In other sports, Cliff Spring was an accomplished basketball player during his youth starring for local New Westminster teams (along with various lacrosse team-mates of his) from 1902 to 1908 for the Armouries and Columbian College squads – winning a provincial title in the 1907-08 season. After he moved to Abbotsford, he once again took up the hooped game and played the occasional game representing his new home town.

His only known dalliance with Canada’s “other” national pastime saw him, somehow managing to slip under the radar as an amateur, suit up as the goaltender for an ice hockey team from the rural Alberta town of Three Hills during the winter of 1918-1919.

At the age of 46 and ten years away from the game, ‘Doughy’ Spring took advantage of the reinstatement of the former professional players into the amateur ranks to sign with the New Westminster Adanacs of the Inter-City Lacrosse League in 1934. Making the transition now from field to box lacrosse, he managed to score 9 goals in his 7 games with the Adanacs.

The following season, now playing for his brother ‘Grumpy’ who managed the Salmonbellies, Cliff found his old form as he racked up 49 goals and 8 assists in 18 games for New Westminster. He played one last game for the Salmonbellies in 1936 before calling it quits and hanging up the gutted stick for good.

Cliff ‘Doughy’ Spring was an obvious choice for charter membership induction to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965.

(PHOTO SOURCES: New Westminster Columbian May 27, 1924; CLHOF X994.31)

Johnny Howard

Johnny Howard, May 1911
Johnny Howard, with New Westminster in 1911

(March 3, 1880 – December 16, 1937)
Montréal Shamrocks (1899-1908)
Regina Capitals (1909)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1910)
New Westminster Salmonbellies (1911-1913; 1915; 1918)
Québec Irish-Canadians (1914)
Vancouver Terminals (1920-1921)

One of a handful of players to transcend the hated West Coast rivalry to suit up for both Vancouver and New Westminster squads, Michael John Howard – better known to fans as Johnny or ‘Mose’ Howard – was an Easterner lured west by Con Jones who then settled down on the coast.

He broke into the senior game with the Montréal Shamrocks mid-way into his teens in 1899 and became part of their dynasty of championship teams in both National Lacrosse Union league play and Minto Cup challenges. The Montréal Gazette noted in May 1907 that Howard was “considered by many to be the best point player in the country”. In total, he would win 6 Minto Cup championships during his 10 seasons spent with the Shamrocks.

In 1909, Howard was recruited by the talent-stacked Regina Capitals in their losing attempt to pry the Minto Cup away from the Salmonbellies. The Capitals originally offered $250 and all expenses paid to the Easterner – but they had to double their offer before he would agree to suit up with Regina for the series.

While watching the two-game series, Con Jones saw something in the defensemen to recruit him the following year for his own Vancouver team. Howard played one season with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club before signing with his redshirt opponents the following year.

Johnny Howard guarding the net, 1913
Johnny Howard guarding the net, 1913

New Westminster wanted him to counter ‘Newsy’ Lalonde as Howard was one of the very few players with the defensive ability and know-how to shut down Vancouver’s star goal-scorer. He replaced the point spot on the defense vacated by veteran Charlie Galbraith. Howard’s value to the Salmonbellies in 1911 was instrumental – unlike the rest of the team who were paid from a divided pool of the gate receipts at the end of the season, Howard received a $1500 contract paid by “a private individual” in lieu of Howard’s share of the gate.

In 1914, Howard was lured to the Ancient City to play for the Québec Irish-Canadians in the Dominion Lacrosse Union after the club had relocated from Montréal. After the resignation of manager Arthur Delorme a month or so into the season, and not long after his arrival, Howard was named the replacement manager and team captain. Both the team and the league would be gone by the following season – which then found Howard back playing with the Salmonbellies in New Westminster.

His final two seasons saw him return to Vancouver – retiring after the 1921 season and then becoming a referee in the professional league. He called the first 10 games of the 1922 campaign before being replaced by Harry Pickering and Gordon Spring for the remainder of the 16-game season.

A fairly clean defensive player respected for his consistent and solid play, however never backing down when the fisticuffs were involved, he appeared in 93 matches while with Vancouver and New Westminster. He played 5 seasons and 48 games with the Salmonbellies and 3 seasons and 45 games for Vancouver teams. Howard was a big and rugged defender who never let up – yet still a genuine sportsman who was admired by all, an idol to the youth who followed the game and extremely popular with the fans during the heyday of lacrosse.

Adding to his 6 Minto Cups won with the Montréal Shamrocks, he would add another two Minto Cup championships won with New Westminster, in 1912 and 1913, and his final one with Vancouver in 1920 for an impressive total of 9 Minto Cup championships.

howard gravesiteAlthough never managing to score any goals due to his deep defensive positioning as the point man – which back then had a completely different meaning, being the very last line of defense before the goaltender – he clocked up a total of 93 pro games on the Pacific Coast, ironically tying him with his on-field nemesis ‘Newsy’ Lalonde in 10th place for career games played.

He was sent off 24 times for a total of 156 penalty minutes – ranking him 15th and 17th respectively amongst the professionals on the Coast – although perhaps his lengthy career contributing more to a higher placement than would be expected from his manner of play.

In this author’s opinion, Howard is the best player from the Pacific Coast’s field era so far not inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Johnny Howard passed away suddenly from a probable heart-attack at his home in Marpole in 1937. At his funeral, former New Westminster teammates Cliff Spring and James ‘Pat’ Feeney along with Vancouver teammate Archie Adamson acted as his pallbearers.

johnny howard stats

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 99-41; CVA Sp P71; author’s photograph)

Thure Storme

Thure Storme as a youngster, ca.1913.
Thure Storme as a youngster, ca.1913.

(January 1, 1894 – February 16, 1975)

New Westminster Salmonbellies (1921-1924)

Carl-Thure Storme was born on New Year’s Day of 1894 in what was then called Moodyville – but known to us today as the Lonsdale Quay neighbourhood of North Vancouver.

In his youth, he played junior lacrosse for the New Westminster West Ends between 1910 and 1912. He then joined the senior team in 1913 with whom he played the next three seasons.

Storme went overseas in 1916 while the First World War was raging across Europe. He returned home to New Westminster as an invalid from a permanent right-arm injury.

On his return, he managed to persevere and resume his lacrosse career in 1919 with the New Westminster seniors.

Thure Storme became a pro lacrosse player for the New Westminster Salmonbellies in 1921. After playing his first season as a substitute, the Dane effortlessly settled into the scoring role vacated the following year by the legendary Gordon ‘Grumpy’ Spring.

Thure Storme, 1922
Thure Storme, 1922

During his short, four-season pro career he led the Salmonbellies in goal-scoring in 1922, 1923, and 1924 and finished either second or first for goals in the league during those same years. He only played in 44 games but managed to bag 50 goals and 4 assists to finish 10th overall in career scoring and goals in the West Coast pro game.

He would later resurface in the box game when he played the 1934 season with the New Westminster Adanacs at age 40, scoring 6 goals in 7 games.

Outside of lacrosse, Thurne Storme was accomplished in many athletic pursuits. He held many track records won in high school and YMCA track meets – in events such as the quarter-mile relay, high-jump, and hop-step-jump.

He was a soccer player with the (New) Westminster United and (New) Westminster Rovers teams for three seasons between 1913 and 1915. During those same years, he was a star basketball player with New Westminster high-school and YMCA teams who completed against teams from south of the border in Washington state.

After the war, Storme continued to play soccer in 1919 and 1920 until a broken leg finished off his soccer career. Strangely enough, he managed to continue playing lacrosse and made the jump to the professional game once he recovered.

His war injury did not get in the way of his baseball career as he was a southpaw pitcher with the New Westminster Pastimes club in 1919. He was talented enough to land a spot in 1926 with an unidentified semi-pro baseball team in San Francisco – allegedly pitching 37 scoreless innings.

Thure Storme was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1971 and passed away four years later.

thure storme stats

(PHOTO SOURCES: CLHOF X979.228.1; X994.8)

Alex ‘Dad’ Turnbull

Alex ‘Dad’ Turnbull, ca.1909
Alex ‘Dad’ Turnbull, ca.1909

(December 6, 1863/1872 – August 27, 1956)

New Westminster Salmonbellies (1897-1909; 1918)

Born in either Stratford or nearby Paris, Ontario, Alex Turnbull played his earliest senior games starting in 1884 with an assortment of Toronto and area clubs. Newspapers mention such local teams as the Toronto Athletics, Paris Brants, Brockville, Perth, Toronto Junction, Toronto Elms, West Torontos, Peterboros – and then, lastly, the famous Toronto Tecumsehs.

In the fall of 1897, Turnbull moved to British Columbia to ply his trade as a typesetter – first to Rossland and then onwards to New Westminster where he played with the New Westminster Salmonbellies from 1897 until 1909 with a brief comeback in 1918. On arrival in New Westminster, he took an immediate liking to the city and soon found employment with the fire department.

A true legend on the field, ‘Dad’ was regarded, by the standards of his day, to be quite healthy for his age and a model athlete for his diet and regimen. Strong, agile, and a good sprinter, Turnbull was a fairly small player standing at 5 foot 6 inches and weighing in at 145 lbs. during his prime years. Notable for the era, he never drank and very rarely smoked and he was praised in newspapers such as the Ottawa Citizen for his temperance and “clean living”.

The story behind his nickname ‘Dad’ – obviously play on his age – is that a Vancouver Daily Province writer wished it on him in 1908 after Turnbull had helped lead the youngsters of the New Westminster Salmonbellies back east to their first Minto Cup victory.

Always drawing attention from the press for his remarkable, advanced playing age, there however appears to be some serious discrepancies reconciling the birth year of 1872 – which is the usual given year, based on handwritten notation in a Turnbull family Bible – with the start of his senior playing career in 1884.

Alex Turnbull, ca.1900-1905
Alex Turnbull, ca.1900-1905

The details regarding his early life remain mysterious as the various dates associated often do not seem to stick. The Montréal Gazette noted in a 1908 article that he was aged 44 at time of publication (on July 31, 1908) and he would be 45 as of September of that year, which would imply he was born in 1863. It also would imply a different birthdate from that of December 6. This 1863 birth year would however better correspond with his senior playing career beginning in 1884, because otherwise he would have been 12 (if born in 1872) when he started playing senior lacrosse.

Based on independent research, both the BC Sports Hall of Fame and this author came to the same conclusion: the earlier year of 1863 is more historically accurate and feasible than the family’s claim of 1872.

To add further confusion, in an Ottawa Citizen reprint of a Vancouver Daily Province interview in 1917, his age at retirement in 1910 was quoted as being 42, which he neither confirmed nor denied – and which would then imply a birth year of 1868 thereabouts. The same article stated that he started playing senior in 1886, which conflicts with other newspaper reports.

In the twilight of his career when the professional game came along, he had to stop playing in 1909 after suffering two broken ribs during a game, but made a comeback in 1918 at age 46.

In later years, he was employed as the warden at the provincial jail in New Westminster. In April 1911, he made headlines in the newspapers as far east as the Ottawa Citizen when he was accidentally shot in the leg when one of the guards’ revolvers “exploded” while on duty as deputy gaoler. He later transferred to the land registry office where he worked until his retirement in 1946.

Alex Turnbull as manager of the senior amateur Salmonbellies, ca. 1913
Alex Turnbull enjoying a rare cigar while manager of the senior amateur Salmonbellies, ca. 1913

Two years prior to his passing, he was asked for his opinion on professional sports. Still an ardent supporter for amateurism, ‘Dad’ Turnbull replied that “…the introduction of professionals killed the game for me and a lot like me because the fun went out of it.

In 1965, Alex Turnbull was posthumously inducted as a charter member to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Two years later ‘Dad’ was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.

Alex Turnbull was a member of the Canadian Olympic team that won a gold medal for lacrosse at the 1908 London games, one of two New Westminster players who made the trip to England for the Fourth Olympiad. Canada won the gold medal when they defeated Great Britain by a score of 14-10 on October 24, 1908 – with Turnbull scoring once in the first quarter and bagging a pair of goals in the third. 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.

At some point during the 1970s, his gold medal from the Olympics was put on display at the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Sadly, in the early weeks of January 1980, the hall of fame fell victim to one of a co-ordinated series of museum break-ins that occurred in Vancouver and New Westminster. The Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the Irving House Museum, the New Westminster Museum & Archives, the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, and some other locations, all suffered break-ins which resulted in the theft of around 20 irreplaceable and priceless gold-metal items from the premises. None of these items stolen in 1980 – including Alex Turnbull’s Olympic gold medal – have ever been located or recovered. Most likely all were melted down for their gold content.

However the thieves, obviously professionals based on their co-ordinated targeting and timing, thankfully left the Mann Cup and Minto Cup unharmed during the break-in.

(PHOTO NWCA IHP1725; CLHOF X979.214.1)

Harold ‘Haddie’ Stoddart

Harold ‘Haddie’ Stoddart
Harold ‘Haddie’ Stoddart

(January 13, 1900 – May 13, 1974)

New Westminster Salmonbellies (1920-1924)

Harold ‘Haddie’ Stoddart was born on the thirteenth day of 1900. He started playing lacrosse at age 10 as a junior and later played high school lacrosse when he was a teenager during the years of the Great War. When he was 18, Haddie started playing senior lacrosse with New Westminster and then turned pro two seasons later in 1920 with the Salmonbellies.

For his first two pro seasons, Stoddart played in what would appear to modern observers as a defensive midfielder role. But then in 1922 he switched to centreman and became one of the best midfielders for the Salmonbellies – finishing fourth in team scoring in every season from 1921 through 1924.

‘Haddie’ Stoddart was an all-round athlete but once he turned pro, he was forced to give up the rest of his amateur sporting pursuits. As well as being a star lacrosse player, he excelled at baseball and also played football and basketball. When he was 16, young enough to fall below the amateur jurisdiction requirements against pro players, he was pitching for the local semi-pro baseball club. He also gave two versions of hockey – ice and floor – a go.

During his five seasons as a pro player, Stoddart appeared in 70 matches and scored 38 goals and 45 points – ranking him 12th in career scoring for pro players on the Coast. As well, he picked up 35 penalties for 221 minutes. Statistically, his best campaign was in 1921 when he scored 14 goals in 18 games.

After the pro game collapsed and died suddenly in 1924, due to strict amateur restrictions, players like Harold Stoddart were forced out of the game, unable to play for senior amateur lacrosse teams because of them being forever tainted as ‘professionals’.

Finally in 1933, after eight seasons of watching from the sidelines, the restriction against the former pros was lifted. By this time, most of the old pro players had become too long in the tooth to play in the fast, new-fangled box lacrosse game – but at age 33, Stoddart was still young enough to have some gas left in the tank.

He signed with the New Westminster Salmonbellies of the Inter-City Lacrosse League in 1933, scoring 10 goals for them during the regular season and playoffs. The following season, ‘Haddie’ signed with the cross-town rival New Westminster Adanacs and he scored 32 goals and 18 assists in 19 games. 1935 would be his last season, scoring 20 goals and 45 points for the Adanacs.

In 1923 Stoddart married Inez Adele Collishaw, one of the sisters of the famous Canadian World War One pilot, Colonel (later Air Vice Marshal) Raymond Collishaw.

Harold Stoddart was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a Field Player in 1967.

haddie stoddart stats