Tag Archives: Vancouver Lacrosse Club

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)

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)

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

Ed ‘Cotton’ Brynjolfson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Peacock

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

WILLIAM (BILL) PEACOCK, JNR.
(born ca. 1887 – deceased 1965?)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1907-1913)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920; 1923)

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

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

He played intermediate lacrosse for Vancouver as early at 1907 and was playing senior by 1910, when the Vancouver Athletic Club managed to outmaneuver Con Jones in signing Peacock when VAC club secretary Hec Fowler and trainer Jocko Vinson managed to convince the youngster to sign with their club.

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

Peacock with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1913.

Outside of lacrosse, the scant personal notes about him state that he may have played juvenile field hockey in 1905 for his home town of Nanaimo, British Columbia. In September 1912, the Vancouver Daily World mentioned he was one of only two married players on the Vancouver Athletic Club lacrosse team.

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

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

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA 99-1019 excerpt; CVA 139-23 excerpt)

bill peacock stats

Dave Gibbons

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

DAVID WALTER (DAVE) GIBBONS II
(February 22, 1884 – October 6, 1966)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1904-1910; 1915)
North Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1911)
Toronto Lacrosse Club (1912; 1914)
Vancouver Athletic Club (1913)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919; 1921)

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

He started out in Vancouver junior lacrosse around 1900 with the East End Crescents, spending around four years with that team before later going back east to play for the Argonauts team. Gibbons was back on the Coast when he made his senior lacrosse debut in 1904 for Vancouver Lacrosse Club as a call-up from the intermediate ranks, graduating to the seniors full-time in 1905. He then became a mainstay with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club as the senior amateur game transitioned into the early professional years.

While highly-regarded as a goaltender, his career during the professional era played out more as being stuck in the role of a perennial, stop-gap replacement that Vancouver teams would fall back on during rough times when their prime, starting keepers became unavailable. Despite the frequent accolades about his talent and ability, he often seemed eclipsed by other well-known goaltenders who were signed by Vancouver.

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

Dave Gibbons in 1905.
Dave Gibbons in 1905.

Gibbons would resurface the following year playing for the North Vancouver Lacrosse Club entry trying to gain admittance into the professional league. Two lopsided losses in test matches against New Westminster and Vancouver, in which Gibbons conceded a total of 25 goals, sealed the fate of the would-be third team in the British Columbia Lacrosse Association and their application was quickly rejected. He amicably reconciled with Con Jones and spent the rest of the 1911 season watching from the sidelines as the spare goaltender for the Vancouver Lacrosse Club, although he saw no action during their successful Minto Cup championship run that year and did not appear in the team photograph.

Dave Gibbons married Bertha Burnett, of Tacoma, Washington, on April 11, 1912 in Vancouver. He then left for Ontario when the Toronto Lacrosse Club signed Gibbons for the 1912 Dominion Lacrosse Union season, having his most successful season in his career as the ‘Torontos’ ended up winning the league with 14 wins in 18 games.

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

In 1914, the Athletics would join the professional league full-time but went with Byron ‘Boss’ Johnson as their keeper. Gibbons decided to re-sign with the Toronto Lacrosse Club for the 1914 season after being offered $30 per week or $25 per week plus transportation expenses paid for him and his wife. The ‘Torontos’ seemed keen to re-sign Gibbons as they offered him better wages than had been paid to their players the previous season. He would find some familiar company from the Coast as the Toronto Lacrosse Club managed to pry Cliff Spring and Len Turnbull away from the New Westminster Salmonbellies and sign them along with Gibbons.

He resurfaced on the West Coast the following season when ‘Boss’ Johnson, now with the resuscitated Vancouver Lacrosse Club under Con Jones, dropped out mid-season and Jones had Gibbons held in reserve as a replacement. The 1915 team photograph for Vancouver shows a very rare occurrence in those field lacrosse days: a team carrying two goalkeepers at once.

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

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

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

His long career, with hindsight and with what is known, is an interesting study in both longevity and misfortune. His statistics from the professional era show a player who was generally mediocre, apart from his strong 1912 and 1918 campaigns. The fact that his ability was respected by many, both during his playing years as well as many years later by his contemporaries and opponents, must lend some credence that he had the misfortune to have played for some rather poor performing Vancouver teams in front of him. A weak or terrible goaltender would not have lasted an impressive 17 years in the game, so one has to wonder whether he was sometimes a bright spot on some not-so-bright teams. That said, the fact that the more successful Vancouver teams generally did not rely on him, gives the impression that perhaps he was not regarded to have been a clutch, ‘money’ goaltender – or rather, he was perhaps viewed as a keeper who was beyond dependable in a pinch, but not one who was going to push the team over the top towards greatness.

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

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

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

dave gibbons stats

Harry ‘Fat’ Painter

Harry Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1912.
Harry Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1912.

HARRY JOHN ‘FAT’ PAINTER
(February 10, 1890 – August 5, 1940)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1911; 1913)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920; 1921-1924)

Harry ‘Fat’ Painter was a defensive mainstay for Vancouver lacrosse teams for 10 seasons. He broke into the professional game when the Vancouver Athletic Club, three-time Mann Cup champions, made their jump from the senior amateurs to challenge New Westminster Salmonbellies for the Minto Cup in 1913. His usual playing spot was at point although he did fill in at coverpoint and first defence for parts of a few seasons.

After the demise of the Vancouver Athletics, Con Jones signed him in 1915 for his resurrected Vancouver Lacrosse Club. Like all lacrosse players in British Columbia, he was inactive in 1916 and 1917 when organised play in the province was suspended due to the Great War.

He played a couple games for Vancouver during the 1918 revival involving the Mainland Lacrosse Association before becoming a fixture on the Vancouver Terminals from 1919 until the end of the professional game in 1924. In 1921, ‘Fat’ Painter was part of the Vancouver player exodus who followed Con Jones into his short-lived, rival Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. Painter would return to the Terminals for a couple of games in 1921 and then resume on a full-time basis with them a year later in July 1922.

‘Fat’ Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1913.
‘Fat’ Painter with the Vancouver Athletic Club in 1913.

His younger brother, Joseph Painter, a midfielder, became a team-mate of his with the PCLA’s Vancouver Lacrosse Club in 1921 and then followed him over to the Terminals in 1922.

‘Fat’ Painter played in 81 professional games for the various teams that represented Vancouver in professional lacrosse and Minto Cup play. He never scored any goals but chalked up 28 penalties and 155 in penalty minutes.

His father, HJ Painter, had been the city assessor in Vancouver. Harry Painter attended Fairview and King Edward high-schools in his youth and later attended the University of British Columbia. As a sixteen year-old he played lacrosse for a Fairview team in what was most likely a local, Vancouver junior league.

Harry Painter passed away suddenly on August 5, 1940 when he was found dead at his home by his brother-in-law. At the time of his death, he had been working as acting assistant superintendent at the post office, his employer for 29 years. He was survived by his wife and two children, William and Daphne.

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA 99-1019 excerpt; CVA 99-31 excerpt)

Charlie ‘Smiler’ McCuaig

Charlie McCuaig in 1912.
Charlie McCuaig in 1912.

CHARLES (CHARLIE) H. ‘SMILER’ McCUAIG
(
born ca. 1887 – deceased)
Vancouver Athletic Club (1907; 1910-1913)
Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs (1908-1909)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919; 1922)
Long Beach (1924)

One of the many now-forgotten Vancouver lacrosse players who plied their trade in the post-Great War professional game, Charlie ‘Smiler’ McCuaig played in 55 games over 7 seasons with an assortment of Vancouver teams in the British Columbia Lacrosse Association, Mainland Lacrosse Association, and Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. He was born in Boissevain, Manitoba, located on the Canadian border with North Dakota, around 1887.

Prior to turning professional, he played at the senior amateur level for the Mann Cup champion Vancouver Athletic Club for three seasons from 1910 through to 1912. McCuaig seems to be have been absent from the 1913 Mann Cup team (or at least absent from the club’s portrait-collage photograph commemorating their three Mann Cup titles) even though he was a member of the squad that challenged the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the professional Minto Cup in 1913. Prior to his time with the VAC dynasty team, he had actually debuted with the VAC intermediate team in 1907 and then played two seasons of intermediate lacrosse with the Mount Pleasant Maple Leafs in 1908 and 1909.

He was a defensive midfielder who could also cover the coverpoint and point defensive positions when required. He scored 5 goals and had 12 penalties for 77 penalty minutes to his name. There is not much press about Charlie McCuaig, except about getting beaten flatfooted by speedster ‘Pat’ Feeney in one match in the early-1920s. Another article, from May 1915 in the Vancouver Daily World, mentioned that McCuaig and fellow teammate Everett McLaren 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. McCuaig would return to Kansas City for further employment 1920.

In the last week of October 1918, various national newspapers such as the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, and Victoria Daily Colonist reprinted a story out of Vancouver that he was “critically ill with double pneumonia and not expected to survive”. Whether such sensationalism was warranted or not is unknown, but McCuaig had recovered in time to be included on the first roster drafted by the new Vancouver Terminals outfit organised on May 19, 1919.

Charlie McCuaig as an intermediate player with the Vancouver Maple Leafs in 1908.

Charlie McCuaig was replaced by former Vancouver Athletic Club team-mate Eustace Gillanders in 1920 when unknown work “making good money way down in Kansas City” with a “good position there” made him reluctant to return to Vancouver for the season. Later that year he then found himself in Colorado with another lucrative job there.

He returned the following year to play for Con Jones’s Vancouver entry in his brand-new Pacific Coast Lacrosse Association. When the PCLA folded a month or so later after 5 games played in its schedule, McCuaig found himself sitting on the sidelines.

McCuaig was picked up by the Vancouver Terminals for the 1922 season when defensive spots opened up with the retirement of the legendary Johnny Howard and the departure of Eastern import D. Langevin. By the following season, Everett McLaren had been moved back to his comfortable place at coverpoint after a one-season sojourn spent playing in the midfield and ‘Smiler’ McCuaig departed the professional scene for good.

Charlie McCuaig appeared in a team photo for a match played in California with the Long Beach team on March 30, 1924. Former New Westminster star Tom Rennie was also a member of the Long Beach squad which faced the California Canadian team from Los Angeles.

What Charlie McCuaig did when his lacrosse days were over, as well as when he passed away, is unknown – however a July 1953 article printed in the Vancouver Sun mentions that one of the old trainers for the Vancouver Athletic Club, Billy Grant, had met up with ‘Smiler’ while visiting Los Angeles.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 99-1019 excerpt; CLHOF collection)

Harry Godfrey

CVA 99-35 harry godfrey (1913)
Harry Godfrey, 1913

HARRY ROWELL GODFREY
(1880/1881 – April 12, 1941)

Vancouver Lacrosse Club (ca.1904-1913)

One of the most prevalent – and at the same time, for the modern historian, most frustrating – aspects of researching lacrosse history in Canada is the sport’s heavy reliance on oral history. Stories and anecdotes that have been passed down word-of-mouth between the generations which are then later documented on to paper becoming ‘fact’ – and then the historian is left trying to sort out and make sense of all the inconsistencies that arise when these stories do not match.

When it comes to lacrosse played on the Coast, visual references such as film footage of lacrosse is essentially non-existent, with only a single-known, brief, blurry clip dating from before the 1920s. This forces historians to rely on the words of newspaper reports, photographs, and reminiscences of those who were there at the matches. While granted photographs are visual references, they are however but a singular instant captured in time and generally do not shed any clues as to the actual playing ability of the subjects in them.

With so many of the great lacrosse players from yesterday, while it has been passed along in generalised terms that such and such player was a great star or a fan favourite, we have very little factual data today to compare with their peers and show why they were so regarded. The inevitable passing of time ensured that a player obituary was written with little regard for accuracy and more focus on memorialising the deceased in the very best light. First-hand reminiscence and observations do have value when documented at the time of occurrence, but as time marches on, those memories grow old and fade and often start to diverge and contradict with the hard facts that do remain and can be confirmed.

When it comes to many of the early inductees in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, we know perhaps two or three sentences about them – and nothing more. In regard to many players and people involved in the game a hundred years ago, we don’t even know when they were born nor in many cases when they died. It’s a serious, sad state of affairs but one we must grudgingly live with because historical preservation had different priorities and criteria decades ago. Obviously, the powers that be, in their day, viewed (and in many cases, knew firsthand) that these players had incredible, outstanding merits – but once acknowledging and honouring these individuals, practically no effort was then made to preserve the actual documentation and facts to keep their history alive and tell their unique stories to the generations to come.

The passing of time has created a whole collection of “he was one of the greatest…” players with their distinctions blurred, lost, and forgotten. The subsequent piecing together their stories from the various contradictory sources can often become a broken and misplaced jigsaw at times.

X979.145.1 harry godfrey (1912)
Harry Godfrey, 1912

One such player is Harry Godfrey.

We are told he was a great player; the people in the lacrosse community who came before us saw him worthy enough to be inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1970, just five years after the hall was established.

Today, however, forty-five-plus years after his induction and over a century since he played his last game, we now do not know very much about him nor what drove his greatness. And when those scraps of facts which can be gleaned from newspapers and other sources are cobbled together, in the case of Harry Godfrey, the puzzle creates more contradictions and questions than it does assemble a clear picture. For such a well-known and well-regarded player in his day, the factual information about him is all over the place when it comes to the details.

Harry Rowell Godfrey was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba – and already starting with his birth we have contradictions with personal information, as there are at least three birthdates associated with him: March 21, 1880, August 14, 1880, and March 13, 1881. His gravestone at Mountainview cemetery in Vancouver shows just “1880-1941” and cemetery records list March 21, but the 1911 edition of C.W. Parker’s Who’s Who in Western Canada directory lists the latter of the three birthdate dates in the entry for Harry Godfrey.

We know nothing of him prior to his arrival in Vancouver in 1888 or 1900 – as, once again, sources vary on the year of that occurrence as well. His obituary in the newspaper quoted 1900 while Parker’s Who’s Who indicates he moved west as a child in 1888.

Godfrey did not start playing lacrosse, it is reported, until his arrival in the Terminal City and it has also been said that he was on the Vancouver YMCA senior team that traveled east in 1901 to challenge for the Minto Cup. This seems incredulous if he did arrive in Vancouver in 1900 with no playing experience.

Even more interesting, in May 1904, he was unanimously elected the club captain of the Vancouver Lacrosse Club – an impressive feat for a player with possibly only four years’ playing experience under his belt, and an event which earnt him mention in the press. These two events make one suspect whether he did have some exposure or playing experience prior to his relocation to Vancouver or whether 1888 is an accurate year for when he left Winnipeg.

We know he ran a sporting goods store, Harry R. Godfrey Gunsmiths & Sporting Goods, which was located first on Cordova Street and then later moved to 123 West Hastings. His business opened in 1902 or 1903 but had closed up shop by 1916. Amongst other items, his store sold lacrosse sticks to players of all ages and ability.

As for his playing ability, according to a newspaper article written at the time of his death in 1941, Godfrey was “…a big and wiry man,” who “…starred at home [i.e. midfield], and, later, defense. He was greatly respected by teammates and opposition both. After his playing days were over he was in the sporting goods business for many years, and later operated a mink farm in Burnaby.” Meanwhile The Spokesman-Review newspaper of Spokane, Washington specifically pointed him out in their review of the on-going 1907 Canadian lacrosse season him as Vancouver’s “husky inside home player”.

Outside of lacrosse, he excelled in basketball and had a keen interest in the YMCA organisation. In 1907 he married Viroqua E. Bonser and had at least one daughter and possibly more children.

Then there are the questionable facts which were later preserved but probably never verified – this is part of the oral history regarding Godfrey that was passed along from second- and third-hand sources. The classic but unsubstantiated ‘I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew or saw him play, and he said…’

According the biography written for Godfrey’s induction in the hall of fame, he played for “a number of school and junior teams” and that “he completed his field lacrosse career by playing ten years of senior lacrosse from 1907 to 1917 until the team disbanded because of the war.” Reading these words, what has happened, is a blurring of facts and dates due to the passage of time and memories.

Victoria Daily Colonist, (May 21, 1904)
Victoria Daily Colonist, (May 21, 1904)

Based on more recent newspaper investigation, his playing career spanned a period starting no later than 1902 and ending no later than 1913. He played professional lacrosse from 1909 through 1913 with Vancouver Lacrosse Club – and due to the regulations at the time, there would have been no way Godfrey could have then been permitted to play senior (amateur) lacrosse after his professional career ended. Assuming he did regain his reinstatement as an amateur player, his name does not appear in game reports nor are there any photographs of him with the Vancouver Athletic Club, the senior amateur team of the day nor any other team for that matter. Both the VLC professional team and the VAC amateur team disbanded in 1915 and there was no organised or sanctioned lacrosse played in British Columbia during the war years of 1916 and 1917.

As for his alleged junior and school career which came before his senior career, it is difficult to determine when this would have occurred if he did not play any lacrosse prior to moving to Vancouver or if he did not move to Vancouver as a child. Since sources vary when he arrived in Vancouver, if it were the latter age of 20, in ca.1900, he would have been too old for the junior or scholastic leagues of the time. If he arrived on the Coast as a boy, then playing the game in his youth becomes much more feasible, believable, and probable.

Harry Godfrey passed away in 1941 and was interred at Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, memorialised on a Godfrey family headstone. He was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1970.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 99-35; CLHOF X979.145.1)