History of the A's


Athletics Win Second Mann Cup!




LED 4 – 3, 8 –3 AND 12 – 4 BY PERIOD PLAY 


The St. Catharines Standard 

Tuesday October 15, 1940 

St. Catharines’ double-blued Athletics are Mann Cup champions again! . . . and probably one of the worthiest Dominion bands of titleholders that dispense Canada’s national pastime in the realms of lacrosse annals. For they came from defeat in the first of the national final series to administer three consecutive crushing trouncings to the team rated the best that ever represented the Pacific coast, in Vancouver Burrards. The title tilt was won by 18 – 5. 

Last night’s fourth and deciding struggle was waged before 6, 648 patrons who braved a pelting rain to see the title decided and as many more utterly loyal Garden City and suburban followers who paid them a wonderful tribute on their return to their native Garden City under similar rainy conditions. After sustaining the initial upset at 14 – 9, Art Brown’s gallant twin blues settled down and humbled Burrard’s TNT-less Bombers by convincing scores of 15 – 5, 16 – 10 and 18 – 5. 

In doing so, they exploded the hollowest bubble the west has presented in the last three years of inter-sectional lacrosse, a vaunted aggregation that was reputed to have everything in the way of natural and financial assets and who had swept all before them in the west and right until they met their admitted superiors, in all but the opening box conflict. Frankly, Burrards were not the competition that New Westminster Adanacs were and it required but the first game for Athletics to solve their weaknesses and capitalize on them. To those who saw the four games involved, that is the answer. 

A’s Never Looked Back 

The titular game was almost a replica of the second and superior to the third in calibre of the pastime. The issue was never in doubt again, after the first period and to those well versed in lacrosse lore, even before that. 

Athletics never looked back at the coast Bombers, the nearest Burrards came being 2 –1 and 4 – 2 on the score sheet, in the opener. Saints led 4 – 2 in the first, were up 8 –3 in the second and had tripled the tally at 12 – 4 by the end of the third. Had they wished to further add insult to injury, none deny the fact that Coach Brown’s champions could have made it 28 instead of 18, for at various times during the last half, they simply toyed with the opposition in mid-box. They hemmed Burrards in their own end for minutes on end, whipping the white sphere back and forth and retaining possession despite futile efforts of Les Dickinson’s challengers. 

Athletics were magnificent from end to end and were led by one of the finest displays of goal-tending that lacrossdom has ever seen in Bill Whittaker. At most times he was indeed the peer of netminders and in defeat, chief credit to Bombers could go to none other than his rival, Walt Lee. Barring him, Burrards are only another lacrosse team and though he lost 58 goals to the champions, he saved a total of 107. It is simple truth and justice to repeat that every player that Coach Art Brown dressed gave a worthy display and though some may rate higher in scoring averages, it was Saints unselfish play that accounted for 43 assists on 58 goals. In short, there is no team that can beat Athletics of 1940. 

Scarlet Runners Again 

A’s again wasted little time going into the van, after Cheevers got the draw and forced play. Billy Wilson set up the play that saw Billy Fitzgerald roll around Dickinson and bore right into the net on Lee for the opener in 1:10. In less than a minute, Fitzgerald snared a loose ball at centre and wriggled around the blue defence to net his second in a row. Bombers then dug in and play swung back and forth with stiff checking in the middle zone and Dale put the coast on the score sheet when he pulled the A’s defence aside after four minutes. Another three minutes and Myers gave Morton the needed pass to step Saints into a 3 – 1 lead and when Morton was hemmed in alongside the boards, he snapped a short pass to Urquhart who gave A’s a three-goal lead at 4 –1. 

Two-minute intervals seemed to be the order of the scoring in the earlier stages, as big Joe Dickinson raced in and picked the near corner on Whittaker for the Bombers’ second tally. Play was largely in the middle zone, with both defences backing in well and when Jenkinson was gated for hooking Gus Madsen, they set up a perfect stonewall before Walt Lee and kept Saints without a clear shot. 

Play swung to the south end, where Bun Barnard and Red Berry “dogged” each other into a dual penalty, with 3 ½ minutes to go. Checking was as tight as before, but the Montreal officials seemed inclined (or ordered) to not check on little affairs, although players of both teams had tried to coax penalties, but found little sympathy. The period ended at 4 – 2 for the Garden City boys. 

Two-Minute Tallies 

Berry was no sooner on in the second than he gated again for nicking Urquhart and it took toll of a goal, after Morton, Teather and Urquhart had shots on Lee, followed by Frank Madsen. Hope snared the last rebound and drilled in a high tally at 5:02. Lee beat Billy Wilson on two in a row, but was fooled on the third, when Wilson faked a pass to Cheevers and beat Lee. Bombers came back hard and fast and Capt. Joe Dickinson “bulled” his way in to pick a corner, after taking a running pass from Lee, with 5 minutes to go. Saints came back with two in a row, spaced two minutes apart, as were the first period registers. Hope collected the first from Myers and after A’s had been held in check by some tight backing in by the coast blues. McMahon jockeyed back and forth outside the blue line, then lobbed a long pass to Wilson, who was checked by Dickinson but did not see the pass with his backed turned. All Wilson had to do was reach it out of the air, step around Dickinson and boost the Ontario champion’s count to 8 – 3. The remainder of the quarter saw each goalie step fast to save potential tallies, but the westerners seemed to be hurried or checked tightly, although they played tight defensively. 

Hope “Fires” Cavallin 

Burrards gave up a soft goal, by a bit of dumbness, in about the first minute of play, when each tagged an Athletic and let Teather coast in as the odd man to beat Lee could and triple the score at 9 – 3. It took three minutes for him to repeat the act, this time pivoting around one and rolling around the other Bomber rearguard at the side of the net to raise the A’s count to double figures at 10 – 3. Young Frank Lee, brother of Goalie Walt Lee, made his first appearance of the series and tried to work “sleeper” plays by loafing around the middle area and had four shots on “Ace” Whittaker, all of which the latter handled on his pads. Saints did not exert themselves too strenuously, being content with holding possession around centre and working for the odd-man play, or drawing the blue coasters out. Finally, Joe Cheevers worked behind the blue defence and beat Lee, being shot into the end boards on the rush. A crosscheck along the boards saw Hope and Roy Cavallin benched together and stage a royal melee on the bench, when Hope put Cavallin out with a haymaker. Ushers helped him up and police stepped into the scene, but teammates worked out the time for them, as both got match penalties at 10:45. Teather hooked Matheson on a Bomber sortie and put A’s two short to one at 11:40, but Bradford gave Matheson the snap that counted Burrards fourth goal of the night in his absence, Matheson sneaking up behind Urquhart’s back to take the hidden pass. Wilson and Gray were gated for nagging at 14:33 and 13 seconds later McMahon converted Fitzgerald’s pass and again tripled the score at 12 – 4. 

Six Goals To One 

Up eight goals, Athletics followed tactics of retaining possession and let Bombers check them outside the penalty strip. Jack Cavallin hooked Teather and was gated. Urquhart ragged the rubber around centre for seconds and then fed Capt. Gus Madsen the goal in 24 seconds. Dickinson was in alone and in some way tangled his own feet and fell down, losing the ball with no Saint near him. The game had developed into pretty much of a rout by this time as Gus Madsen and Morton whipped in the 14th and 15th goals within 1:30 of each other, the last one ripping through the net and delaying the game until repaired. Bombers offered no objection, so the goal was absolutely valid. Young Lee was finally rewarded with a goal, as he converted Berry’s pass at 5:02 for their fifth…and that became their last goal of the night and series. 

Barnard hooked Matheson at 5:50 but Bombers could not pierce the A’s defence, being erratic on hurried shots and over-anxious. Came the ten-minute mark and the die was cast for the vaunted Bombers. Urquhart uncorked a long underhand shot that beat Lee and started the play for the next to Wilson to Fitzgerald, at 17 – 5. Wilson and Fitzgerald took a pass and beat Dickinson and then Lee, in turn for the 18th tally, with Fitzgerald accepting a “sleeper” from Whittaker and coasting in alone, to be robbed by Lee. Barnard and Theal nagged each other into a minor at 14:04 and all Athletics had to do was retain possession in the middle zone until the gong and the Garden City warriors of Coach Art Brown were Mann Cup champions again, by 13 goals. 

Vancouver Burrards: Goal, W. Lee; defence, Berry, Dickinson; rover, Gray; centre, McDonald; wings, J. Cavallin, Dale; subs, Bradford, Matheson, Jenkinson, R. Cavallin, Theal, F. Lee. 

St. Catharines Athletics: Goal, Whittaker; defence, C. Madsen, Barnard; rover, McMahon; centre, Cheevers; wings, Wilson, Fitzgerald; subs, F. Madsen, Hope, Myers, Urquhart, Morton, Teather. 

Officials: Norman Langevin and “Moon” Mullins, Montreal


First Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
St. C. Fitzgerald Wilson - 1:10
St. C. Fitzgerald - - 2:10
Vanc. Dale - - 4:02
St. C. Morton Myers - 6:59
St. C. Urquhart Morton - 7:47
Vanc. Dickinson - - 9:59

Penalties: Jenkinson, Barnard, and Berry.

Second Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
St. C. Hope - - 2:48
St. C. Wilson - - 8:35
Vanc. Dickinson - - 9:51
St. C. Hope Myers - 11:47
St. C. Wilson McMahon - 13:07

Penalty: Berry.

Third Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
St. C. Teather - - 1:31
St. C. Teather - - 4:55
St. C. Cheevers - - 10:01
Vanc. Matheson Bradford - 12:40
St. C. McMahon Fitzgerald - 14:48

Penalties: Hope and R. Cavallin (minors and misconducts); Teather, Wilson and Gray.

Fourth Period

  Goal Assist Assist Time
St. C. C. Madsen Urquhart - 1:54
St. C. C. Madsen - - 3:16
St. C. Morton - - 4:51
Vanc. Lee Berry - 5:02
St. C. Urquhart - - 10:01
St. C. Fitzgerald Wilson Urquhart 12:30
St. C. Wilson Fitzgerald - 13:25

Penalties: J. Cavallin, Barnard, Theal and Barnard.

Goal stops: By Lee (4-8-6-5) 23, by Whittaker (8-7-11-7) 33.

George Hope

(St. Catharines Standard photo)