History of the A's
A's Battle C.L.A. Then Get Help To Win 4th Mann Cup
The St. Catharines Standard
Friday October 6, 1944
St. Catharines Athletics will start their purely-Garden City roster tomorrow night at Maple Leaf Gardens in their 1944 challenge to New Westminster Fishermen in the opening of the Mann Cup finals. What happens after that depends on how the gallant Saints fare against the coast.
General satisfaction is expressed here over the unanimous decision of the A's executive to stand or fall with the Garden City hopefuls, battered though they may be, for the first game against the Fishermen anyways. The solons and players are heartened immeasurably by the fact that Capt. Gus Madsen will start the opener and they'll take chances on him sticking it out for his seventh Mann Cup appearance..
Saints thought they had an "ace in the hole" in Jimmy McMahon, younger brother of Wandy McMahon now overseas, who was being transferred east by the R. C. Navy. However, advice from him to Pres. Bill Taylor is to the effect that he proceeds straight on east to the Atlantic coast and with greatest regrets imaginable, cannot be expected to aid the Saints this year.
Athletics will travel by car to Toronto, but their special boat delegation of 1,000 to 1,500 will be on hand to cheer them along the rocky road, leaving Port Dalhousie at either 8:30 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. and returning at 11:30 tomorrow night.
ATHLETICS' SOLONS TOSS DEFI RIGHT BACK AT CLA AND INSIST WEST FULFILL ALL OBLIGATIONS
The St. Catharines Standard
Thursday October 12, 1944
St. Catharines Athletics Lacrosse Association is not proposing to take the refusal of New Westminster Fishermen to play here tonight in a posture known as "sitting down." Nor is the St. Catharines Park Commision, lessees of Haig Bowl, proposing to let down it its practically iron-bound contract with the C. L. A. (wherein C. L. A. Past President E. J. Dopp acted with full authority for the boxla tycoons) proposing to be side-tracked from their pre-series arrangements for a fourth game here. That much was most definitely decided at the Welland House last night, at an emergency meeting of the parent executive of Athletics.
E. H. Lancaster, K. C., chairman of the city parks commission and a member of the Athletics executive and also of the O. L. A., produced voluminous correspondence with E. J. Dopp, in which Dopp stated he had been asked by the C. L. A. to arrange for a game here, naming the date and suggesting playoff arrangements. Dopp suggested Oct. 12th here, with the first three games in Toronto.
It was the unanimous consensus of opinion of the Saints executive that if Fishermen had won the third game of the series on Tuesday night, they would have fulfilled their obligations with Athletics here. When they were defeated, New Westminster immediately looked around for a loop-hole to escape and resurrected the constitution relative to a series being played indoors. In Athletics' Mann Cup competition since 1938, they have contested a total of 18 games and never once questioned the venue of any game in the east or west. In no cup series in the east was St. Catharines ever given a home game and her fans went in alternate years to Toronto, where the C. L. A. ordered all games played by arrangement with Maple Leaf Gardens.
Unless the C. L. A. orders Fishermen to play here tonight, there is no present indication that Athletics will play in Toronto on Saturday night.
SAINTS WILL DECIDE TONIGHT WHETHER TO PLAY FOURTH GAME OR STAND PAT ON CLA CONTRACT
The St. Catharines Standard
Friday October 13, 1944
There is still a rift like the great wall of China between the warring lacrossists today. They're yet at logger-heads and never an inch does either one give toward cracking in the middle. New Westminster Salmonbellies (whom Garden City fans have painted a paler, ochre hue) are standing pat on their constitutional rights - about playing out-of-doors. Mgr. Grumpy Spring and Coach Jack Woods claim the St. Catharines damp air is detrimental to their health. St. Catharines Athletics stoutly supported by the City Parks Commission, which holds the whip-hand if they care to exert the high pressure, are like a stonewall in their determination to play their legally-contracted game here. In that respect, they are gallantly backed by 90 out of every 100 sports enthusiasts in this city and adjacent parts.
Right at the "dead-end," the situation finds itself today. There it will stand, undecided, until 8 p.m. tonight, when Athletics executive will hold another executive session at the Welland House and the die will be cast one way or the other.
The double blues, as a club, are torn between two decisions. Will they swallow their pride, their hurts, their loss of the fourth game and crushing disappointment to their city fans and bud forth in the role of good sports to save the face of the C. L. A.? In short, will they show up the utterly poor sportsmanship of New Westminster to Toronto and Ontario fandom, as the boxla tycoons hope and pray? Or will they follow the dictates of their more rabid backers here, adopt the stiff upper lip and concrete-back attitude and tell the Fishermen and parent salons to trek home and play in their own backyard from now on? It just simmers down to being a good sport or an easy sucker, depending on the personal viewpoint.
O. L. A. Past President Russell Kelley of Hamilton, yesterday contacted Gene Dopp to nominate Barton Arena in Hamilton as the venue of the fifth game. But there has to be a fourth game first and if Athletics do decide to play in Toronto tomorrow night and be returned victorious, they will celebrate the Mann Cup in Toronto and bring back here to St. Catharines City Hall for safe keeping the $2,500-worth of gold and silver. If the game is played tomorrow and New Westminster evens the finals, then they can dicker with Perc Thompson of Hamilton, at least the C. L. A. can. Perhaps St. Catharines will have a say in that also.
ATHLETICS VOTE TO PLAY FOURTH GAME IN TORONTO AND CLA SOLONS EULOGIZE THEIR SPORTSMANSHIP
The St. Catharines Standard
Saturday October 14, 1944
St. Catharines Athletics will play the fourth game of the Mann Cup in Maple Leaf Gardens at Toronto tonight. They voted to do that by an executive decision of nine to four, at their second successive official caucus last night at the Welland House. When President Barnes of the C. L. A. from Vancouver was later called into the meeting by President W. J. Taylor of the Athletics and informed of the decision, his eulogy of the super-sportsmanship of St. Catharines and her double-blue Athletics was a gem. President Barnes said it was the finest demonstration of honorable tactics in his knowledge of Canadian lacrosse annals. He then asked Secretary-Treasurer W. G. Easterbrook of Vancouver to record that in the official minutes of the C. L. A. convention of 1944 and especially requested that the facts be fully delineated to the daily papers of the Pacific coast.
He first stated that he accepted all responsibility for the present situation between St. Catharines and New Westminster. He also stated that the Fishermen's club had not been officially notified in writing of the C. L. A. arrangements for the venue of a fourth cup game. In Toronto, on Wednesday, following the Tuesday game, the refusal of the western club was accepted by the C. L. A. on constitutional grounds and that all later efforts to have Fishermen waive their rights proved fruitless.
President Taylor of the Athletics did not spare the lash on the C. L. A. for their failure to notify St. Catharines of the initial controversy, or requesting them to be represented on the series refusal by the west and then coming into this city at the eleventh hour in an effort to adjust the situation amicably.
W. K. (Billy) Fitzgerald asked Mr. Barnes why the C. L. A., in accepting cup dates here and knowing of the outdoor facilities, permitted section 7 to be waived then and then upheld it when New Westminster refused to play here. Lyle Barr denied that the C. L. A. had waived the constitution, as charged.
Chairman E. H. Lancaster accepted President Barnes' courage in coming to this city and his frank explanation of the C. L. A. error and possible weaknesses. He stated the C. L. A. arrangement with the parks committee here was clear cut and it very definitely stated facilities outdoors.
Roy Morton and Sid Wright said the players had met earlier and decided to accede to the C. L. A. wish for a fourth game, as they wanted to play it out.
Frankly, it is strictly up to the Athletics themselves, if there is to be a fifth game or not. They bitterly object to playing in Hamilton, so can make it safe and sure by winning tonight in Toronto, where 1,000 home fans will aid them.
VS. WEST TO BATTLE ISSUE
St. Catharines Standard
October 16, 1944
W. J. Taylor of St. Catharines Lacrosse Association announced today that
tonight’s fifth game in the Mann Cup finals at Hamilton arena, would be
a genuine east-vs-west struggle for supremacy. The first four games have
been St. Catharines Athletics versus the packed west, but, with the issue
at stake in the deciding venture, all sentiment is now forgotten. The
teams are now playing for the national title and that means Athletics will
bolster with players granted them by the C. L. A. for the cup series.
Yesterday, the players committee met the boys themselves, the former
consisting of Marty Cahill, Art Brown, Tom Teather and Coach Cleverley and
made the decision. The frank opinion was that the Garden City rookies and
veterans had done as well as humanly could, under existing conditions of
youngsters, who aided no how in making the O. L. A. championship possible,
have had their chance to play in the Mann Cup. There is, therefore, no
Garden City prestige lost. The “home brews” have played four games and
the cup round is deadlocked at two wins apiece. Everyone here would have
been elated had it been possible for Athletics to regain the Mann Cup with
nothing but their own home club talent and without recourse to replacement
from other Ontario clubs.
negotiations were opened with Russell Kelly in Hamilton to contact Bill
Isaacs of Burlington, with Fred Sandford in Mimico to deal with
“Scoop” Hayes, Allan Mclean and Alvin Doyle of Mounts and Pete Ella in
Brampton for Bill (Whoopie) Arthurs. George (Ike) Masters was named by the
O. L. A., but he is in the armed forces and Pres. Barnes of the C. L. A.
is being asked to permit Isaacs as a military replacement for Masters. The
move was actuated from dual reasons. Athletics hospital list is growing
per game. All know of Gus Madsen’s injured knee and Punk Morton’s leg.
Now Frank Madsen received an injured foot that slows him down to a hobble
and Cars Myers sustained an arm injury that made it impossible to shoot
with any force or accuracy.
have used their lend-lease players from Vancouver Burrards in every game.
Goalie Walt Lee has played all four games, as have Johnny Cavallin, Ralph
Douglas, Alex Shaw and Ritchie McPherson of Burrards and Alec Shaw of
Navy. Thus, Saints have been playing against an all-star packed squad
since the series opened and in this fifth game they wisely chose to use
borrowed talent and try to regain the battered cup for the east.
the Mann Cup finals now tied at two apiece, the issue is most definitely
at stake tonight. New Westminster proved the better team Saturday night in
the fourth start, victors by 11 – 8 in 10 minutes overtime. Fishermen
won because they were fresher and faster, fanned out on defence and kept
Saints well out. On attack they kept on the eternal move, cutting across
the nets and having the full five feet to shoot at. Athletics in
comparison are capable of far better games than that one.
presented a tight defence, in holding the redjackets fairly well out,
except on pivot plays that took a carrier or pass-expecter in close. Their
passing was sharper, their shots deadly in whip-style and had A’s
defence pushed the Fishermen out in every case and not let them cut across
and get running shots, Saints could have won out. As it was, statistics
show that just seven of the eleven western goals were scored by snipers
evading checks on A’s defence and getting shots on Whittaker they never
Tickets For A’s Boxla Fans
Perc Thompson, of Barton hockey arena agreed today to set aside 500
tickets adjacent to Athletics bench tonight, for the benefit of Garden
City lacrosse fans. The same urgent appeal, as on Saturday, was repeated
by President W. J. Taylor of Saints, only stronger if possible, for
Athletics support. President Taylor was advised by Series-Secretary Dopp
yesterday that prices would be scaled at $0.60 - $0.90 - $1.20 at Hamilton
Arena this evening, with game time the same as before at 8:30. Since
Barton Arena is smaller than Leaf Gardens, a packed defence will be
urgently needed tonight and in that respect, a far tougher game is
anticipated than in the preceding four title contests.
"Bill Whittaker was on the jump in the top picture of action in the Mann Cup game at Hamilton, as a bullet-like drive from Pete Meehan (No. 10) just rebounded off the goal pads. Left to right, shown rushing to cover up, are Frank and Carl Madsen of Saints. Whittaker is seen wearing a cap for the first time in any game, due to the glare from an arc lamp just over his head. The ball is between him and Gus Madsen." The St. Catharines Standard, Oct 17, 1944
CAPTURE FOURTH MANN CUP IN SEVEN SEASONS
BY 11 – 9 WIN OVER FISHERMEN
St. Catharines Standard
October 17, 1944
the lacrosse champions of Canada – St. Catharines Athletics. For the
fourth time in the short space of seven seasons, in the stiffest going of
the toughest sport known to competition, the Garden City double blues have
won the premier honors of Canada national pastiming. That is the Sir
Donald Mann Trophy, the $2,500 bauble that is emblematic of lacrosse
supremacy and it was a very, very tired Capt. Gus Madsen who received the
golden cup from President E. E. Barnes of Vancouver, in mid-floor of
Barton Arena in Hamilton.
won the Dominion crown for the Garden City and Coach George Cleverley for
1944 and they won it the hard way, by the final score of 11 – 9. It was
the best game of the five that was needed to declare the champion and one
must take a page out of “Winnie’s book” and be fair about the
victory. Saints would, never in the world, have won the trophy without the
replacements utilized last night in the fifth game. That much is accepted
by management and players alike – the latter almost unanimously. If
there are any dissenters, a vote of Mimico, Hamilton and neutral fans
would speedily right them.
order of merit we’d say the palm goes to lanky and evergreen Bill
Isaacs, of whom there is no whomer in the ranks today. He was the only
player on the wooden floor that New Westminster Fishermen could not solve
and he had the redjackets of the coast jittery every minute he was on the
floor. Isaacs got the first goal of the game and the Spring-Woods squad
began to work right then and there. His “hawking” of loose balls was
brilliant, his pivots and roll-arounds were delights to the eye and he was
picking the corners deadly. His second goal (15th of the game)
was an epic, as he wormed out of a corner when checked by two red rivals
and got an angle shot away that picked a low, near corner. In two more
minutes, he set up Morton on a cross-floor pass that was a pair of whips
and before Walt Lee could move, it was a case of “zing” into the
(Whoopie) Arthurs, the six-three ace of Brampton, was the next best. He
got the opener in the second, on a set up from Bobby Thorpe and backhanded
it past Lee. He soloed in twice again, but was ganged by redshirts and
lost possession, but his long reach on intercepts rated him a bouquet. The
12th goal on his solo, when he rolled and pivoted past four
rivals and beat Lee was a treat, so his aid could go down in the blues
book as indispensable.
could A’s have got by without the wiry legs of “Scoop” Hayes to help
out. He set up Isaacs for the opener, then started Saints off with a
duplicate in the final that Cove finished off and was the only man on the
champs roster who was eternally on the move – like Ike Hildebrand. Hayes
intercepted more red passes in the Saints goal area than any one (barring
Isaacs) and his untiring pace kept one or more Fishermen on his Mimico
Alvin Doyle ran in hard luck all night. He fell thrice on the floor, was
perhaps affected by jitteriness in his first cup series, but yet was the
fastest runner on the champs roster. Experience was all he lacked to have
netted a goal or so. Capt. Al McLean, of Mimico, did not play.
Nevertheless, let it be known that Athletics are deeply grateful to
Isaacs, Arthurs, Hayes, and Doyle for saving the Dominion title for the
east and the A’s fourth cup triumph.
lease-lend quartet supplied the legs and that was the part A’s needed.
The battered, bruised and crippled veterans of Saints were heroic and let
none take anything away from them. They came home and worked daily in war
industry, romped off to foreign floors five times and eventually defeated
a starry packed team of westerners that was fully rested between games and
all the latter had to combat was the acclimatization part. If any
Fishermen were ready for a hospital cot, as Coach Woods and Manager Spring
daily stated, we’ve yet to see them. Fishermen were young, fresh, eager,
brilliant stickers, deadly shooters and could run rings around A’s (as a
unit) when it came to getting back and racing up. The Athletics made a few
blunders, but who are we to criticize champions? Fishermen got the 11th
goal from a telegraphed “sleeper” passout that was bad, they got one
intercept of Isaacs and gave it back from Hildebrand to Hayes, also the
final goal with five seconds to go when a blue carrier was very lax. If
there was any criticism at all, it was in the failure of some to “hog
the ball” and that was maybe due to pals checked closely and no open
spots for a pass. Fishermen were more unselfish in that respect and
whipped the rubber around most freely. More than once they had Whittaker
tagged, but he came out triumphant. Gus and Frank Madsen, Morton. Myers,
Cove, Wright, Nelson and Thorpe gave all they had, played themselves into
the floor and came up with the golden honors.
fought with their backs to the wall, but there was no flinching. They had
the advantage of one thing, they were used to a board floor and not one
man of the east was. It hampered the blue jerseys and often they could not
pick up a rubber. It was also slippery and they fell far more often than
the west. Let it be known that the fifth game was the hardest and toughest
seen since the Mann Cup series of 1940 against Adanacs since both teams
were playing for keeps. The checking was wicked, but not dirty, the bumps
brutal and the going very stiff. If officiating had been stricter, it
might have been harmful to those 3,600 – 4,000 fans, but if Saints
merited two rests so did Fishermen. One other incident aided the tired
Saints. At 10:40 in the third period Whittaker kited a Cavallin shot into
the arcs over his head and it took the arena crew a full 25 minutes to
insert a new light as everyone tried and none was an electrician but Bill
Whittaker. That 25 minutes of rest was undeniably a boon to Saints, who
felt the strain.
5 – 1 lead in the first period won the game for the east. Cars was the
hero of that chapter. He got the second goal, set up the fourth, soloed
for the fifth and set up the sixth and thus collected his two and two to
remain the “chief” as depicted in Toronto press. Ike Hildebrand got
their opener, protested as a crease goal and the hot debate nearly cost
Whittaker a penalty. Such drew a major for Frank Madsen late in the second
period, to prove that the refs were bosses. When the Saints left the floor
with a four-goal lead, it looked all over for the west, but A’s took
them too lightly – perchance with a bit of over-confidence also.
Arthurs made it 6 – 1 to open the second, Fishermen struck back, with
three goals in less than three minutes, Pinder’s catching Whittaker out
of his net, Hildebrand on a breakaway and Dickinson on a shot around
Myers. Saints were erratic then, but they played strong defensively and
held the inspired Fishermen out for 8:48 of the second quarter, playing
the last 3:15 with Frank Madsen off. He was shy for 1:45 of the third and
Fishermen got the 11th goal on the bad sleeper.
Nip And Tuck
sniped the 13th of the game with three seconds to go and that
one-goal lead going into the final was no mountain. A Hayes to Cove
submarine tally sent A’s two up and Isaacs boosted them to three before
the 3-minute mark.
did not see Hildebrand’s goal from Bryant, it went in so fast, 13
seconds after Isaacs got the 12th. The Morton-Isaacs whip-tally
was just as fast and Lee made no move. That made it 10 – 7 and still
anybody’s game. When Bill Nelson ducked three red jerseys and soloed in,
it was up to four again, but Bert Bryant (No. 2 and the best man on the
floor for the west last night) got the next on a solo burst and pivot and
Pinder’s final was one that was given him. After the siren, the arena
was bedlam, as friend and foe milled around mid-floor…Pres. Barnes had
to have a bodyguard to keep the golden cup intact, but everything was
from a Garden City standpoint and the west took the crushing of
their title hopes with good grace…even if their trio of scribes did
leave the seats of the mighty before the die was cast. In A’s dressing
room the scene was indescribable and it seemed as if
the whole 1,200 – 1,500 Garden City fans were trying to push in
home here, the Welland House was headquarters for the informal reception,
but there was nothing official in any way, though the celebration ran well
into the early morning hours.
Westminster – Goal, Lee; defence, B. Dickinson, Meehan;
rover, Wither; forwards, Pinder, Bryant, Hildebrand; subs, Douglas,
Cavallin, Dale, E. Dickinson, Buchanan, Shaw, McPherson, Richardson and
Catharines – Goal, Whittaker; defence, C. Madsen, F. Madsen;
rover, Nelson; forwards, Thorpe, Isaacs, Hayes; subs, Myers, Mackie,
Morton, Cove, Doyle, Arthurs, Wright.
Penalties - Doyle, F. Madsen (major)
related reading: An Interview With Ken "Weiner" Croft