History of the A's


Athletics Win Mann Cup!






The St. Catharines Standard 

Thursday October 13, 1938 

St. Catharines Athletics are the Mann Cup champions of Canada. Monarchs of all they survey in the world of lacrosse for 1938. The Garden City’s boys in blue defeated New Westminster Adanacs last night at Maple Leaf Gardens by 10 – 7, to bring the first senior Canadian title to this city in the long annals of the national summer pastime. And those gallant youngsters of this city merit all the praise that can be heaped upon them and in which was accorded them, in part, by that magnificent gesture of citizenry early this morning. 

Three Straight 

They won the Mann Cup in three straight games, to rank beside the Orillia Terriers, New Westminster Fishermen and other great units of Canadian sport. To accomplish the pinnacle of their aspirations this year, Athletics had to combat tactics and desires sterner than probably ever faced in the history of Dominion box finals. They had to fight a desperate band of foeman from the coast, they had to battle against the hopes of the C. A. L. A. officials that the series would be extended to four or five games, and they had to contest a hostile fan element whose sympathies apparently ran with the under-dogs of the finals. Out on the box, the protégés of Coach Art Brown had to fight their sternest and with mighty few exceptions, every goal they registered was earned the hardest way – with one or more of the Adanacs draped around them and Athletics being forced to carry that burden as well as beat the opposition goalie. 

West At Their Peak 

In the bargain, Coach Jimmy Gifford of Adanacs had inspired his gold-purple forces with what was called a “do or die” spirit. The coast champions had everything to gain and nothing to lose and they played just like that…with reckless checking abandon, daring tactics and wild swinging that scarcely had a part in the senior finals of Canadian lacrosse. Adanacs played fully 50 per cent better than in their two former games and Eddie Johnston, in goal rose to the occasion to match their play. He was both good and he was lucky and that combination is difficult to defeat. Adanacs were possessed of one hope, to prevent Athletics repeating previous series of power plays that had swept all before them, so last night was seen the westerners hustling back to spread fan-like across the box and set up an air-tight defense that Saints found hard to penetrate. 

Fans In Quandary 

It is not the intention to criticize the officials of the night for the rulings that seemed to be more severe on Athletics than Adanacs. Both referees were well on top of the play and should have the better vision. Garden City fandom numbering perhaps 2,000 of the 4,499 that paid admission to the last game of the series, thought their favorites were being unfairly penalized. They rent the air more than once with strong expressions of disapproval at what they regarded “cheap” penalties to the Saints. True it is that Athletics did spend 22 minutes on the bench to 16 for the Adanacs, but Garden City fandom, officials and players thought that Adanacs were being permitted to adopt illegal checking tactics and when Saints tried the same, they were penalized. 

Adanacs certainly played the man for the ball and came up with it in most cases. While it may be said, in all fairness, that Athletics, whether from the close nature of enemy checking or with a pre-Mann Cup complex, did not show the same dashing brand of play that marked the first two games. They were rather lax on loose balls, could not fashion plays that pulled the foe out of position and either lacked sniping eyes or Johnston out guessed them. For they were not picking the corners last night as the brunt of their shots whirled straight on the Johnston pads. 

Very Late Rally 

For three and a half periods, or approximately 50 minutes out of 60, Athletics could not get their passing plays. The team was not clicking as of yore and the fact that they trailed the west for 54 ¼ minutes before assuming the lead tells the story in so many words. Once Art Brown’s boys forgot to fight the rival players and went out to fight for loose balls and play lacrosse, then the supremacy that marked the previous games was natural to them. Consequently, it can be said that only in the last ten minutes did the double-blues play the brand of box pastiming that their backers witnessed before. Yet they caused many a groan, heart-scald and grave doubt that the finals would be finished in three straight. When they did find themselves, as similarly to the first final with Orillia Terriers, they dominated play in the closing minutes. But except for courage and ability to fight back, Athletics were not and did not play like the same team that convincingly defeated Adanacs by eight and eleven goal margins. 

Record Score 

Experts of lacrosse harked back to early history and came back with the statement that the final score of 10 – 7 was the lowest to be recorded in Mann Cup competition. Period scores bear that statement out, Adanacs led 3 – 2 in the first, 6 – 4 at the half time, and 6 – 5 at the end of the third…when only one goal was registered. The count was deadlocked for the first time of the night at 13 seconds of the last quarter, when a mighty roar lifted to the Gardens roof. To show how desperately Adanacs fought against elimination, they forged to the fore at 7 – 6 and an aftermath of the Bun Barnard 6 – 6 goal was heard again was heard again as Billy Wilson knotted it for the second time at 7 – 7. Even then, it was touch and go whether Athletics or Adanacs would be victorious in the last eight minutes. Hence, loyal St. Catharines fandom gave full vent to pent up cheers when Hope gave Saints their first lead of the game with little more than five minutes to go. Adanacs went down battling with every trick at their disposal. Indication of the grim struggle is shown in them drawing two penalties to one for Saints and in that scant few minutes came the “break” and Athletics whirled on to victory with twin tallies and the most coveted possession in the world of lacrosse…the Mann Cup. 

Goals were scarce, or snipping luck was bad. Lee topped all rivals with 3, but was the lone Adanac to do better than one tally. Phelan had 1 and 2 and Saunders 1 and 1. Morton had 2 and 1, Barnard 2 goals, Gus Madsen and Cheevers 1 and 2 each, with Fitzgerald, Wilson, Urquhart and Hope getting singles, but one is safe to say that never before this year have Athletics had to work so bitterly for goals and earn them as was seen in that gruelling third Mann Cup game. Every player on both teams gave everything he had and it was a genuinely tired pair of teams that ended the series in congratulations. 

New Westminster Adanacs – Goal, Johnston; defence, Lee, Bradbury; rover, Carter; centre, Kennedy; wings, Douglas, Phelan; subs, Ran Mathison, Ken Mathison, Lloyd Steele, Lorne Steele, Haddon, Saunders, Pyper. 

St. Catharines Athletics – Goal, Whittaker; defence, C. Madsen, Barnard; rover, Green; centre, Urquhart; wings, Morton, McMahon; subs, Hope, Cheevers, Fityzgerald, Wilson, Kelly. 

Referees – Max Peart and Allan Willford.


First Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
N.W. Lee Saunders - 3:21
N.W. Lo. Steele Ll. Steele - 4:50
St. C. Fitzgerald Wilson - 5:12
N.W. Kennedy Bradbury - 9:02
St. C. Morton - - 9:47

Penalties: Morton, Haddon, Ken Mathison, Green, Barnard, Cheevers, Kelly.

Second Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
N.W. Phelan Douglas - 0:21
St. C. Madsen Cheevers - 2:08
N.W. Lee Phelan - 12:57
St. C Cheevers Madsen - 14:05
N.W. Lee Phelan - 14:32

Penalties: Ken Mathison, C. Madsen, Urquhart.

Third Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
St. C. Urquhart - - 5:21

Penalties: Lloyd Steele, Saunders - Hope, Wilson 2, Phelan, Urquhart

Fourth Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
St. C. Barnard - - 0:13
N.W. Saunders - - 5:09
St. C. Wilson - - 7:01
St. C. Hope Cheevers - 9:25
St. C. Morton C. Madsen - 12:57
St. C. Barnard Green Morton 14:08

Penalties: Hope, Lloyd Steele, Morton, Ran Mathison, Lee. (Final score: Athletics 10 -7)


Goal stops: By Whittaker (13 - 4 - 9 - 9) 35; by Johnston (7 - 11 - 9 - 2) 29

Free Throws: Adanacs 3 - 4 - 3 - 1 (11); Athletics 2 - 1 - 2 - 1 (6)

Penalties in minutes: Adanacs 16; Athletics 22.

Read the story of the 1938 Athletics Mann Cup celebration in the featured section of this site.