History of the A's
Joe Cheevers Remembered
T. J. (Joe) Cheevers
Behind Legion Sports
St. Catharines Standard
November 30, 1976
Thomas James (Joe) Cheevers, one of St. Catharines best-known athletes and
sportsmen, died suddenly here yesterday after a brief illness. He was 62
years of age.
his lengthy athletic career, Joe Cheevers was one of Canada’s
outstanding lacrosse players and was elected to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame
at New Westminster in 1967.
Cheevers spent four years overseas with the 10th Field Battery
(RCA) before resuming his lacrosse career with the St. Catharines team
that won the Mann Cup again in 1946.
he had many skills, he is best known for his ability to win face-offs.
retiring as a player in the early fifties, he coached the senior Athletics
and several minor clubs while continuing as Garden City Arena assistant
manager. However, his major interest the past 25 years had been Royal
Canadian Legion Branch 24 minor sports program.
Cheevers doubled as president of the minor hockey and minor baseball
leagues supported by the Legion and was also convenor of several
individual leagues. He was active in other Legion work as chairman of many
committees, an executive member and former first vice-president of Branch
THE SPORTS GATE
St. Catharines Standard
December 2, 1976
incredible it was almost 40 years ago Joe Cheevers, Jack (Wandy) McMahon
and Billy Wilson returned to St. Catharines to rejoin the senior Athletics
and help start a lacrosse dynasty that brought Ontario and national
championships here for almost a decade.
late Harvey Dudley, then president of the St. Catharines Athletics
Lacrosse Association, was one of the men responsible for recalling
Cheevers and McMahon from Orillia where they had helped the Terriers win
three successive Ontario titles, and Wilson from the West Coast where he
had gone after stops in Hamilton and Orillia.
1937 Cheevers and McMahon had helped the Terriers eliminate the Athletics
in the provincial finals by a single goal in the deciding game. The next
year the A’s swept Orillia out four games to one with all the
“homebrews” back in St. Catharines jerseys and playing before crowds
of more than 4,000 at the old Haig Bowl.
serving overseas with the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Joe
returned to wear the double blue jersey another couple of years, but a
youth movement had set in here and in 1948 he joined his pal Tank Teather
with the Hamilton Tigers. Joe was the playing coach and the team promptly
won the national senior championship again.
was Joe like as a player?
many consider him to be basically a playmaker, he was also an outstanding
scorer. In 1938, for example, he was third in goals with the Athletics –
46 in 23 games for an average of exactly two every match – and was also
third in points with 81 behind only Roy (Pung) Morton who had 101 and
Wilson with 89.
HALL OF FAME
to say he was in one of the earlier groups of boxla players named to the
Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in New Westminster. His teammates from the
1938 club similarly recognized are the late Carl (Gus) Madsen who was the
captain of the team, Wilson, Morton, McMahon, Whittaker, Fitzgerald, as
well as Doug Favell Sr., who played with some of the later clubs.
Joe gave much more than his athletic ability to St. Catharines sport.
OF MANY PARTS
his summer sport had always been lacrosse, Joe with Hall by his side
again, moved into minor baseball in 1952. For almost 20 years the pair
became virtually inseparable, acting in almost every capacity in Legion
minor hockey and baseball.
had them by the thousands, in fact we know of no person who disliked Joe
Cheevers. As Branch 24 president Don Frick put it: “Joe will be missed,
not only in sport but as a long-time member, executive and vice-president
of our branch. There’s just no way of telling how many youngsters, and
adults too, he helped during his life.”
often seemed strange to us that Joe became known in later years as
“Gerry Cheevers’ father.” Gerry of course is the Boston Bruin
goaltender, thoroughbred owner and Joe’s elder son. Like his dad, Gerry
also excelled in lacrosse and was one of the fastest players – from a
standing start – we’ve ever seen.