Tag Archives: Vancouver Lacrosse Club

Dave Gibbons

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

(February 22, 1884 – October 6, 1966)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1904-1910; 1915)
North Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1911)
Toronto Lacrosse Club (1912)
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.

Gibbons made his senior lacrosse debut in 1904 and became a mainstay with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club as the senior amateur game transitioned into the early professional years. While well-regarded as a goaltender, his career during the professional era appears more as being stuck with the role of the perennial, stop-gap replacement that Vancouver teams would fall back on during rough times when their prime, starting keepers became unavailable.

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 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.

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, but his fortunes played out no better in the East as the ‘Torontos’ ended up mired in last-place in the four-team league.

He would return 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 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 in lieu of Gibbons. He would resurface the following year 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.

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

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 mediocre at best, apart from his strong 1918 campaign. The fact that he was well-regarded by many, both during his playing years as well as many years later by his contemporaries and opponents, must lend some serious 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 often a bright spot on some not-so-bright teams. That said, the fact that the more successful Vancouver teams generally did not go with him, gives the impression that perhaps he was not regarded to have been a clutch, ‘go to’ goaltender – perhaps a player who was well 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 a 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 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)

Harry ‘Fat’ Painter

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

(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.

(birth and death dates unknown)

Vancouver Athletic Club (1910-1913)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1915; 1921)
Vancouver ‘Greenshirts’ (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919; 1922)

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.

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.

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.

Charlie McCuaig seems to have been replaced by former Vancouver Athletic Club team-mate Eustace Gillanders in 1920 – whether he was edged out of the roster for the spot or simply quit the game is unknown – but 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 once again found himself sitting on the sidelines.

He 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 disappeared from the professional scene for good.

(PHOTO SOURCE: CVA 99-1019 excerpt)

Harry Godfrey

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

(August 14, 1880 – April 12, 1941)

Vancouver Lacrosse Club (ca.1904-1913)

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

Film footage of lacrosse is almost non-existent with only a single-known, brief, blurry clip dating from before the 1920s. Otherwise we are forced to rely on the words of newspaper reports, photographs, and reminiscences of those who were there. Photographs are a singular instant in time which don’t generally shed any clues as to the actual playing ability of the subjects on them.

With so many of the great lacrosse players from yesterday, while it’s been passed along that such and such player was a great star or a fan favourite, we have very little factual data today as to show why they were so regarded – especially with the inevitable passing of time, when 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, memories grow old and fade and often those memories start to diverge and contradict with the hard facts that do remain and can be confirmed.

With many of the early inductees in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, we know perhaps two or three sentences about them – and nothing more. With 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 sad state of affairs but one we must grudgingly live with, as 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 practically no effort was then made to preserve the actual documentation and facts to keep their history alive and tell their stories to the generations to come.

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 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 are cobbled together, in the case of Harry Godfrey, the puzzle creates more contradictions and questions than it does assemble a clear picture.

Harry Rowell Godfrey was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1880. We know nothing of him prior to his arrival in Vancouver in 1900. He did not start playing lacrosse, it is reported, until his arrival in the Terminal City – yet within a year of appearing on the Coast, 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. Even more incredibly, in May 1904, he was unanimously elected the club captain of the Vancouver Lacrosse Club – an impressive feat for a player with only four years’ playing experience under his belt, and an event which earnt him mention in the press. These two events make one wonder if he did have some exposure or playing experience prior to his relocation to Vancouver.

We know he ran a sporting goods store, Harry R. Godfrey Gunsmiths and Sporting Goods, which was located first on Cordova Street and then later moved to West Hastings. His business opened in 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.” 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”.

Then there are the questionable facts which were later preserved but probably never verified at the time – this is part of the oral history regarding Godfrey that was probably created or passed 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.” But, what seems to have 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 to ending in 1913 no earlier. 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. His name does not appear in game reports nor photographs of him with the Vancouver Athletic Club, the senior amateur team of the day. Vancouver’s professional team (and VAC) disbanded in 1915 and there was no 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 and professional career, it is really difficult to determine or comprehend when this would have occurred – if it actually did occur – if he didn’t play any lacrosse prior to moving to Vancouver. He arrived in Vancouver at age 20, a few years too old for the junior or scholastic leagues of the time.

Outside of lacrosse, he excelled in basketball and had a keen interest in the YMCA organisation.

Harry Godfrey passed away in 1941 and was buried in Mountainview Cemetery in Vancouver. He was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1970.

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

Archie Adamson

Archie Adamson, ca.1911
Archie Adamson, ca.1911

(born January 1882 ? – deceased)

Toronto Lacrosse Club (1902-1903)
Toronto Chippewas (1904-ca.1905)
Toronto Tecumsehs (ca.1905-1909)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1910-1911; 1913; 1918)

Archie Adamson was born in Hamilton, Ontario but always played with Toronto teams until moving to the Coast.

He first played lacrosse as a youngster with Wellesley School in the junior public school league, winning the championship that year. He then played for the Checkers team in the junior city league, winning championships in two years.

His senior lacrosse career began around 1902, when he was listed as a member of the Toronto Lacrosse Club team, in the National Lacrosse Union, that went to England that year. He was originally one of the two spares to be taken on the trip but then landed a roster spot of his own when one of the regular players had to withdraw before setting sail for the old country. During these early years playing in Toronto, Adamson acquired the nickname ‘Kid’.

Adamson then changed teams and leagues when he played for Toronto Chippewas of Canadian Lacrosse Association in 1904 and 1905. He finished in the top-ten for scoring in his first season with the Chippewas when he scored 10 goals and 11 points in 11 games – second-best in scoring for the team and accounting for almost one-third of the Chippewas’ goal production.

There is confusion determining exactly which Toronto club Archie Adamson played for in 1905. Some sources have him with the Chippewas while others have him with the Toronto Tecumsehs – both teams competed in the Canadian Lacrosse Association league that year. What is known is he scored 15 goals that season, which considering how awful the last-place Chippewas offense was (only 25 goals to their credit for the entire season), it seems more likely that he was with the second-place Tecumsehs.

The following season, he helped the Toronto Tecumsehs win the National Lacrosse Union championship, finishing eighth in league scoring with 16 goals and 23 points. He continued to have two more solid campaigns with the Tecumsehs and picked up a second league championship with them in 1908. He finished fifth in scoring in 1907, with 23 goals and 26 points in 12 games, and then led the Tecumsehs in scoring in their 1908 championship year with 22 goals and 26 points. Adamson then saw his play drop off the scoring charts in 1909 as Toronto slid downwards into fourth in the seven-team loop.

When the Tecumsehs came west in June 1909 to challenge the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the Minto Cup, Adamson made the trip. He scored the final goal of the first game as Toronto dropped a 6-4 decision. Adamson then bagged a hat-trick in the second game played three days later when the Salmonbellies took the second game by a narrow 6-5 win and won the series and the Minto Cup by only 3 goals aggregate.

Archie Adamson rebounded on the field the following year when he went west in 1910 to sign with Con Jones and the Vancouver Lacrosse Club. While Vancouver struggled as a team all season long, managing just 3 wins in 11 league games, Adamson scored 8 goals from the midfield – which were enough to see him place second in team scoring, 2 goals behind the leader ‘Bones’ Allen.

1911 saw him moved up as a forward to the outside home position on the enemy crease – his old familiar position back when he was with the Tecumsehs – and found himself alongside the legendary ‘Newsy’ Lalonde. Adamson replicated his eight-goal effort and finished third in goals for Vancouver Lacrosse Club. He won his only Minto Cup professional championship that season, which involved Vancouver defending a challenge from his old Toronto Tecumsehs team-mates who held him scoreless in both matches played at Recreation Park in downtown Vancouver.

There is no information where he played in 1912 except that it was not in the professional British Columbia Lacrosse Association. Adamson returned to the Vancouver Lacrosse Club in 1913 but soon lost favour with his boss; he found himself released by Vancouver in June 1913 after Con Jones became disgusted with the play of the veteran. He had only managed 2 goals in 4 games occupying ‘Newsy’ Lalonde’s old spot on the attack.

Adamson made a mid-season comeback with Vancouver in 1918 when lacrosse resumed play on the Coast after a two-year hiatus due to the Great War – mirroring his lackluster efforts from five years ago by scoring 2 goals in 4 games. Vancouver would win the Mainland Lacrosse Association championship and with it a disputed Minto Cup championship but Adamson did not play in the final month of the season. It is unknown whether he was still a member of the team by that point.

In his four seasons played on the Pacific Coast, Archie Adamson appeared in 29 games for Vancouver Lacrosse Club and scored 20 goals. He had 2 penalties in 1911 which accrued 10 minutes against his name.

1918 appears to have been his last season – certainly at the highest level of the game – and after leaving the game for good, his subsequent whereabouts are unknown but Adamson most likely stayed on the Coast. His name was noted by the newspapers as one of the pallbearers at the funeral of former teammate Johnny Howard, which was held in Vancouver in 1937.

(PHOTO SOURCE: detail from postcard of 1911 Vancouver team)

archie adamson stats

Harry Pickering

Harry Pickering, 1912
Harry Pickering, 1912

(February 18, 1881 – October 8, 1936)

Toronto Tecumsehs (1906-1908)
Ottawa Capitals (1909)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1910-1913; 1915)
Vancouver Athletics (1914)
Vancouver Greenshirts (1918)
Vancouver Terminals (1919-1920)

Born in Mount Forest, a small community located in Wellington County, Ontario, Harry Pickering played seven years of lacrosse as a youngster with the Mount Forest teams.

The Vancouver Daily Province remarked at the time of his passing, in 1936, that Pickering – “who will go down in history as one of the smoothest, toughest defencemen that game has known” – had honed his skills while playing in the sandlots of Toronto and was then spotted by Toronto Tecumsehs manager Charlie Querrie. However, this conflicts with more contemporary knowledge about him, as this embellished story in his obituary takes no account of his experience in Mount Forest and he played a year with Chatham in the intermediate series before the Toronto Tecumsehs signed him in 1906 to play third defence.

On September 22, 1906, he married 19-year-old Mary Colquhoun in York, Ontario.

After three seasons with the Tecumsehs and winning the National Lacrosse Union championship with them in 1906 and 1908, Pickering was playing at his peak. He changed teams in 1909 when he signed with the Ottawa Capitals – trading in three winning seasons for an atrocious, last-place finish. Regina Capitals tried unsuccessfully to sign him that same year for their ensemble challenge against the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the Minto Cup.

Pickering was signed by Con Jones in September 1909 to play for Vancouver Lacrosse Club in exhibition matches played during the BC Provincial Exhibition held the following month. He would remain on the Pacific Coast with Vancouver for the next dozen years – first as a leading veteran player with Vancouver and then later in a player-manager capacity when Con Jones bowed out of the game.

He was reported by the Ottawa Citizen to be the highest paid player with Vancouver in 1910 however other newspaper sources state that he received the same $50 per week wage as the other Eastern imports that same season.

There were rumours of him returning to Ottawa in 1911 for business reasons however he remained on the Pacific Coast. The following season Pickering was rumoured to be signing with a Toronto team.

Con Jones pulled the plug on his Vancouver Lacrosse Club team and withdrew from the league in July 1913 after a dispute over scheduling with the Salmonbellies. Harry Pickering was a member of a four-player committee along with ‘Newsy’ Lalonde, Harry Griffiths, and Harry Godfrey who then took control over the team when Jones quit but the quartet were unable to keep the club running nor resume the season.

When the Vancouver Athletic Club made the move to the professional ranks the following year, as a replacement for Jones’s club, Pickering was one of a handful of ex-VLC players who joined up with VAC. Sadly the Athletics’ season fared just as poorly on the field and at the gate as their predecessors had the year before, as the 1914 professional campaign collapsed after just 6 games.

With the Vancouver teams, he played the position of what would, in the modern game, be regarded as a defensive midfielder. He appeared in 78 games for Vancouver in his 9 playing seasons on the Coast. After Con Jones quit the professional game (once again) after the 1918 season, Harry Pickering took over as manager for the Vancouver Terminals for three seasons from 1919 to 1921. He won three Minto Cup championships – all with Vancouver – in 1911, the disputed 1918 series, and in 1920.

In April 1915, Pickering made an interesting statement which appeared in the Montréal Journal of Commerce, observing the climatic differences that Eastern and Western players faced and the bearing on their game. While not expressly pointing out what those differences were, Pickering stated that “a team going to the coast should either play the day after their arrival, or wait a couple of weeks. The difference in climate makes the players sleepy.

He retired after the 1920 season due to shoulder problems and moved into the referee ranks. He refereed in the 1923 Mann Cup series between Victoria Capitals and New Westminster Salmonbellies as the two divisional champions of the British Columbia Coast Lacrosse Association met for the gold trophy.

Pickering passed away at the general hospital in New Westminster on October 8, 1936 after a prolonged illness. He had been coach of the Richmond Farmers in the Inter-City Lacrosse League in the 1936 season until poor health forced him out of the game.

Harry Pickering was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a charter member in the Field category in 1965.

(PHOTO SOURCE: detail from CVA99-43)

harry pickering stats

Dalton ‘Dot’ Phelan

Dalton ‘Dot’ Phelan, 1913
Dalton ‘Dot’ Phelan, 1913

(October 21, 1887 – January 12, 1958)

Cornwall Colts (1906-1910; 1914-1919?)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1911-1913)

Another one of the long-forgotten obscure players of yesteryear on the cusp of greatness, the few fleeting passages written about Charles Dalton ‘Dot’ Phelan in the newspapers attest to him as “…elusive, shifty,” and “a slippery player”, “one of the fastest, headiest, and pluckiest small men who ever played for the Cornwall Colts”.

His senior career began in 1906 and he played five seasons in the National Lacrosse Union with his home-town Cornwall Colts. Then in 1911, he became one of Con Jones’ imports raided from the Ontario leagues as Jones set his sights on prying loose the Minto Cup from the clutches of the Salmonbellies.

A fitting testament to his playing skill is that none other than fellow Cornwall native and former Colts goalkeeper Édouard ‘Newsy’ Lalonde recruited Phelan for Con Jones and the Vancouver Lacrosse Club – which considering Lalonde’s high expectations demanded from teammates, is a fine compliment as any of his ability.

Con Jones agreed to pay Phelan the sum of $1,800 to re-sign with his team the following season in May 1912 – after George Kennedy, the manager of the Montréal Irish-Canadians in the Dominion Lacrosse Union tried to lure him away from Vancouver.

Phelan played two full seasons in the professional British Columbia Lacrosse Association with Vancouver – in 1911 and 1912 – and one lone game in the 1913 season, unable to secure a regular starting spot on the roster, before returning to Ontario for good. During his time spent on the Pacific Coast, playing mostly as an attacking midfielder, ‘Dot’ Phelan appeared in 19 games and scored 10 goals. He won his only Minto Cup national championship with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club in 1911.

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

His likeness appeared in two sets of lacrosse player cards that were produced by Imperial Tobacco Company – his name unfortunately misspelt as “D. Phalen” in the 1910-11 set.

Phelan, like many of the players of the day, played multiple sports throughout the year. He played 3 games over two seasons (1907-1909) as a left winger with the Cornwall Hockey Club of the Federal Amateur Hockey League. He later had a try-out with the Montréal Shamrocks ice hockey team in December 1909.

After he arrived back in Ontario, ‘Dot’ Phelan soon returned to his old, familiar Cornwall Colts. The exact seasons in which he participated as an active player after 1913 are unknown – but he did play for the Cornwall Colts as late as 1919, the penultimate year for professional lacrosse in Eastern Canada. He was also listed as the club treasurer for that season.

Tobacco card from 1910-11
Tobacco card from 1910-11

With his lacrosse career now over by this time, Dalton Phelan then had to deal with the death and funeral arrangements for his mother in 1920. This event was then soon followed by an intriguing sojourn to Georgetown in British Guiana (modern Guyana) where he worked as an accountant at a bauxite mine on the Demerara River. His stay in South America was rather brief, especially considering the distance he had traveled to get there, as he booked passage in March 1921 from Georgetown to New York. By the end of that year he returned to his hometown of Cornwall, landing work as a bookkeeper. The following year saw him moving to Windsor, Ontario. In 1923 he registered for United States immigration and moved across the river to Detroit, Michigan where he took up residence as a boarder.

Two decades later, Dalton Phelan – who appears to have been a lifelong bachelor – is still boarding with the same couple in Detroit when he completes his mandatory registration with the United States Army once war broke out after Pearl Harbor in 1941. By this time, his employment is listed with the Chrysler Corporation in Wayne, Michigan as a machine operator.

According to parish records of the former St. Philip Neri Parish in Detroit, Charles Phelan passed away on January 12, 1958.

He was interred three days later at Mount Olivet Catholic cemetery, a few blocks north from the same neighbourhood where Phelan had lived in Detroit for over three decades. He left no next of kin and the only other name associated with his entry in the death register is that Reverend Alfred Ferranato presided over his funeral mass. He was buried in an unmarked, pauper’s grave located at section M, tier 8, space 579.

‘Dot’ Phelan was inducted into the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA99-35; CVA 371-602)

Special thanks to Thom Racine at the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame for providing biographical information and to the Mount Elliot Cemetery Association in Detroit, Michigan for locating and providing burial details.

dot phelan stats

Cory Hess

Cory Hess making a save against New Westminster at Hastings Park on May 31, 1913
Cory Hess making a save against New Westminster at Hastings Park
on May 31, 1913

(July 3, 1880 – November 27, 1948)

Cornwall Colts (1897-1901; 1911)
St. Catharines Athletics (1905-1907)
Hamilton Tigers (1908)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1912-1913)

Coridon (or Corydon) Ashton Hess (or Hesse) started out in senior lacrosse in 1897 with his hometown Cornwall Colts of the National Lacrosse Union, when he appeared in 1 game that season.

The following season, at the tender age of 18, he became the starting goalkeeper for the Colts when he replaced James Broderick in between the posts. In 1898, he led the league in goals against average and was in a three-way tie for most victories with 9 wins from 13 games.

In 1901, he had a shutout against the Montréal Nationals when the Colts blanked the Frenchmen 6 goals to 0. As a member of the Cornwall Colts, he was the losing goaltender in the first challenge game for the brand-new Minto Cup, a 3-2 decision in favour of the Ottawa Capitals. Hess departed the Colts after the 1901 season when he relocated to Woodstock – replaced by Jack Hunter, who would become the mainstay in the Cornwall crease until the arrival of a local youngster by the name of ‘Newsy’ Lalonde in 1905.

In the 1905-1907 period, Hess played for the St. Catharines Athletics of the Canadian Lacrosse Association. The 1905 season was notable for Hess on a personal level as St. Catharines found themselves on the losing end of the first Minto Cup challenge series to feature open professionals. After helping lead the Athletics to the championship of the Canadian Lacrosse Association, they lost in their attempt to dethrone the now-professional Montréal Shamrocks of the National Lacrosse Union. Cory Hess thus found himself with the distinction of having played for both the first senior amateur and first professional teams in Minto Cup play.

Hess was a hot commodity in his final season with St. Catharines, with both Toronto Lacrosse Club and Montréal Shamrocks both interested in acquiring his services. That year he helped lead the team to the league championship. The following season he played with the Hamilton Tigers in the same league. At some point after playing for Hamilton, he also played with a team in Brantford but his tenure there is unknown.

Cory Hess would return to the Cornwall Colts in 1911 but struggled to a 3-8 finish. In his debut match of the season, having entered the game as a substitute replacement for Mark Cummins, he took a ball in his right eye and had to leave the game.

Cory Hess, 1913
Cory Hess, 1913

After ‘Bun’ Clark was lured away by the New Westminster Salmonbellies, Con Jones brought Cory Hess out west as a replacement keeper for his Vancouver Lacrosse Club. Hess was part of a Cornwall exodus – consisting Angus ‘Bones’ Allen, Dalton ‘Dot’ Phelan, Don Cameron, Francis ‘Fid’ Cummins, and ‘Newsy’ Lalonde – that Jones had accumulated on his roster.

He arrived in Vancouver with a highly-regarded career in Ontario behind him; at his peak he was regarded as one of the great goalkeepers of his day with his skill both with his stick and his sharp eyes. Those who strayed too close to his crease did so at their own risk, as Hess was known to lay out the lumber on occasion. A rookie by the name of Fred ‘Cyclone’ Taylor learnt this all too well during a game with Oshawa, when Hess ‘combed’ Taylor’s head with his stick.

Hess played in 20 games for the Vancouver Lacrosse Club from May 1912 to June 1913 but by his second season on the Pacific Coast, he was showing his age. Con Jones became unhappy with his performance and looked to find a replacement after losing confidence in the struggling, 33-year-old keeper. Hess was dropped from the team after Vancouver‘s 7-3 loss to New Westminster on June 21, 1913.

At the time of his release from Vancouver Lacrosse Club, he had a record of 4 wins and 16 losses. He let in 116 goals for a 5.80 goals against average – which really isn’t that bad considering he had matching .200 win percentages in both seasons with Vancouver. His downfall in 1913 was inconsistent play where he (and many of his team-mates) would follow up a hard-fought win or a close loss with an inexplicable rout to the Salmonbellies. In his debut season with Vancouver, at least the losses were close games for the most part.

Later in life, his chief lament would become: “And I was never on a Dominion championship team.

Hess was inactive as a player from 1914 until 1918 when he was reinstated as an amateur player. He played in 1920 with the Vancouver Athletic Club. The Athletics had reformed the year before as a senior team and were now playing in the Pacific Coast Amateur Lacrosse Association. He would later suit up for the North Shore Athletics in the British Columbia Coast Lacrosse Association.

Once his playing days were finally over after the 1925 season, Cory Hess then helped establish, along with Carl Grauer of Richmond, a women’s lacrosse league in 1926 for the Lower Mainland. Hess managed the Pirates team in the league, from 1926 until around 1939 – which only lost three games in their first five seasons of play. The Pirates won the Grauer Cup, which was emblematic of the British Columbia women’s provincial championship, in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, and then later in 1939.

For two years he was president of the women’s league until he stepped down, feeling there was a conflict of interest as he sponsored one of the teams. He then took up the position of secretary-treasurer of the British Columbia Lacrosse Association (the provincial association, not the professional league).

While lacrosse was his primary sport, in his early years Hess excelled in scholastic sports. He was a baseball pitcher, played rugby, was a goalkeeper in soccer, and a basketball guard. In his later years, for over twenty years, he was the official timekeeper for ice hockey games at both the Denman Street Arena and Vancouver Forum.

In 1968, Hess was inducted into the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame in the Lacrosse category. He would be one of the last old-school field lacrosse players inducted to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1985.

cory hess stats

(PHOTO SOURCES: CVA 371-578; CVA 99-35)

Angus ‘Bones’ Allen

Angus ‘Bones’ Allen
Angus ‘Bones’ Allen

(September 12, 1881 – June 28, 1941)
Cornwall Colts (1898-1902)
St. Catharines Athletics (1903)
Ottawa Capitals (1904-1908)
Regina Capitals (1909)
Vancouver Lacrosse Club (1909-1913; 1915)

Born in Cornwall, Angus J Allen – better known in his day as ‘Bones’ – started his lacrosse career around 1898 with the Cornwall Colts of the National Lacrosse Union. He then played one season in the Canadian Lacrosse Association with the St. Catharines Athletics in 1903 before joining the Ottawa Capitals in 1904. Allen then remained in Ottawa for the duration of his Eastern lacrosse career as he also held down employment at the Department of the Interior.

He played the attacking midfield position with occasional assignment as the inside or outside home on the crease. His size and shifty play made him exciting to watch in action.

Well-regarded by his fellow players, Allen “…was a prince and a fellow. Bones played hard. He could take the bumps and hand them out with never a whimper. A real man and a real sport,” is how opponent Gordon ‘Grumpy’ Spring recalled him, when interviewed by the Vancouver Sun the day after ‘Bones’ passed away in 1941.

 ‘Bones’ Allen with Vancouver trainer Pete Muldoon, 1912
‘Bones’ Allen with Vancouver trainer Pete Muldoon in 1912.

In 1907, the Ottawa Capitals traveled to Great Britain and played 16 games against teams located all over England. With a record of 15 wins and 1 draw, ‘Bones’ Allen led the team in scoring as the Capitals out-scored the English 168 goals to 43.

On arrival in the Old Country, the Canadians received a flattering welcome in the press and were an immense hit with the sporting public. The London Daily Express made note of Allen as one of the more “interesting personalities”, who was “…very tall, and once was very thin, but now scales close to 13 stone.” (equivalent to 182 lbs or 82.5kg)

Gaining attention as a solid lacrosse star, he was almost lured south of the border to play lacrosse in St. Paul, Minnesota later that same year.

He came west with the Ottawa Capitals in 1908 in their challenge for the Minto Cup. While he was staying in New Westminster with the team, he met his future wife there. He would return back east with the team, but then made his move westward as he entered into the bonds of matrimony.

The following year, in the spring of 1909, saw Angus Allen sign with the talent-stacked Regina Capitals for two games – playing alongside such greats as Édouard ‘Newsy’ Lalonde, ‘Bun’ Clark, Johnny Howard, and Harry ‘Sport’ Murton. The prairie team had doled out the cash to load up on ringer talent in their attempt to take the Minto Cup off New Westminster Salmonbellies, losing the two games series 6-4 and 12-2. Allen then stayed on the Coast and three weeks later was suiting up for Vancouver in their season opener.

‘Bones’ Allen, wearing #9, goes up against ‘Bun’ Clark at Hastings Park, 1913
‘Bones’ Allen, wearing #9, goes up against New Westminster goalkeeper ‘Bun’ Clark at Hastings Park, 1913

‘Bones’ Allen would play six seasons for the Vancouver Lacrosse Club as one of Con Jones’s many hired hands from Ontario. Despite being at the peak of his game when he arrived in Vancouver, there were some doubts about him from some of the local pundits. After a season in Vancouver, he silenced them with his play and became as well-respected as if he were one of the local lads. He would finish second in goal scoring for the Vancouver Lacrosse Club in 1909.

His best season on the Pacific Coast came the following year when he scored 10 goals in 11 games to lead all Vancouver players. He retired after the collapse of the 1913 season and then went overseas – but when Con Jones got back into the game, ‘Bones’ was lured back for one final campaign in 1915 before hanging up his gutted stick for good.

He played in a total of 56 games for Vancouver Lacrosse Club, scoring 38 goals and penalised 21 times for 110 minutes. He is ranked 14th in career scoring amongst all professional players on the Pacific Coast, and tied for 12th , with ‘Haddie’ Stoddart, in goal scoring.

‘Bones’ Allen is one of only three players ever to win both the Stanley Cup and Minto Cup as Canada’s national champion in professional hockey and professional lacrosse. His ice hockey career spanned from 1901 to 1909, winning the Stanley Cup in 1904-05 with the famous Ottawa Silver Seven. His two Minto Cup championships followed in 1906 with Ottawa Capitals and then in 1911 with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club.

allen gravesiteAngus Allen passed away in 1941 after a short illness and was buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Burnaby, his grave located underneath a large cedar tree. He was survived by his wife and five daughters. A quarter of a century later, ‘Bones’ was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1966 in the field player category. Five years later he was inducted into the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame in the lacrosse category. His wife Leslie Allen-Gordon passed away in 1983 and was interred next to Angus.

bones allen

(PHOTO SOURCES: CLHOF X994.85(b); X979.145.1; CVA Sp P71; author’s photograph)

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 the 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)