Alberta's Lacrosse History

Discussion in 'More Sports' started by Rids, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. Rids

    Rids Member

    May 3, 2012
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    Here's an article that I wrote a couple of years ago but with tonight being the Game 7 of the ALA Jr. A Championship I thought that it fit well.


    Alberta has a rich history of lacrosse without many people even knowing it. Mannville, Alberta is actually named in honour of Donald Mann whose name also graces the most sought after trophy in Senior Box Lacrosse. In fact as part of the September 1st, 1905 Inauguration Celebrations as Alberta joined Canada as a province, lacrosse (among other sports) was played to entertain the masses in Edmonton. As a side note, Edmonton beat Calgary in that meeting.

    One of our finest moments saw the Calgary Chinooks winning the Mann Cup for being the Senior Lacrosse Champions of Canada way back in 1914. In truth, teams from Alberta have challenged for all 4 major trophies in Canadian box lacrosse and over the last 30 years Alberta based clubs have brought home six national championships.

    Lacrosse was in Alberta even before the turn of the 20th century. In 1882 lacrosse equipment was available in Edmonton, and several pickup games were played there during the summer. The following March, the Edmonton Lacrosse Club was organized but, because of a lack of competition, it disbanded in 1885. The Calgary Lacrosse Club was organized in 1884 with Captain Boynton serving as the club's first president. The club's membership swelled to thirty, with games among the club members being held periodically on weekends and, on several occasions, competitions took place between the citizens and the police.

    After lagging interest, the Calgary Lacrosse Club was re-organized in 1887. Mr. Boag, a teacher who was to be elected as the club's president, organized a lacrosse meeting at the school house. A practice ground was secured on the prairie south of the railway tracks. Mr. Boag introduced the game to some of the older students in the school. In 1905 Calgary had an interschool league. The Calgary Lacrosse Club operated in a local manner for several years. Once the interest in the field game subsided and the interest of the box game grew. Teams sprung up from all over the province to battle for the provincial title until interest disappeared. Following the Second World War there is little recorded history dealing with lacrosse in Alberta. The teams likely didn't vanish just compared to world events didn't draw much attention at the time.

    From the mid-70's to today the box leagues in Alberta have come and gone almost with the changing of the seasons. Even though this constant turmoil Alberta's teams did well on the national stage. The Edmonton Fullers won the President's Cup in 1975 and came in second the following year. The Sherwood Park Capitals finished second in 1978 to give the province 3 medals in 4 years. The late 70's and early 80's saw the rise of the Enoch Tomahawks. They competed at the Minto Cup Tournament held in Calgary, September 1979. They finished third out of the three teams but managed to beat the Burnaby Cablevision team that went on to win the Cup. In 1980 the Tomahawks went down a notch to play at the Jr. B Founder's Cup and won it all. The 1983 Calgary Mountaineers led by Wayne Sutherland and Dave Bryant went to the President's Cup and brought home a first place finish. From there the history is foggy at best. Several junior and senior leagues have existed in the past 30 years and their history has remained untouched since then. Slowly we're rebuilding the history of Alberta's box lacrosse roots to give the next generation of players a sense of the shoes they are filling.

    League play in this province has developed in many forms over the years and details are spotty at best. The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League in it's current form is a growing league with a bright future in the Sr. B ranks. The name was first used in 1981 as a 4 team league was established to play at a national Senior B level. It was reborn in 1995 and then once again revisited in 1998 to bring us to our current League.

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