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.

Lacrosse Excursion

Saturday, Oct. 7th



Special Booster Tickets are good passage on the 8:30

a.m. and 2:30 p.m. boat from Port Dalhousie.

Boat will return, leaving Toronto at 11:30 p.m.

Return Fare $1.15


NOTE--Only Booster Tickets will be accepted

on the 11:30 p.m. boat

Tickets on sale at Murray Morton's, Chambers Drug

Store, Bob Dunn's, Cecil Rhodes and at dock.

Let's Go, and Back the Double Blue Athletics


reproduction of advertisement in The Standard, Oct 6, 1944


The St. Catharines Standard

Wednesday October 11, 1944

TORONTO - The fourth game of the best-of-five final between New Westminster Salmonbellies and St. Catharines Athletics for the Canadian lacrosse championship will be played in Toronto Saturday night, President E. E. Barnes of the Canadian Lacrosse Association announced today.

Mr. Barnes, a resident of Vancouver, made his announcement after an afternoon conference between C. L. A. officials and the New Westminster team.

"New Westminster is standing by its constitutional rights in refusing to play a game tomorrow night in St. Catharines," said Mr. Barnes, explaining that the C. L. A. constitution provides that the Mann Cup finals must be played in an enclosed rink. In St. Catharines, lacrosse is played in the open air.

"They have a number of reasons, among them being health," said Mr. Barnes.

The Athletics have a one-game edge in the series with two wins to New Westminster's one.



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.


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.


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.


The St. Catharines Standard 

Monday October 16, 1944 

Pres. 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 injury. 

The 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. 

Yesterday, 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. 

Fisherman 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. 

Best Team Won 

With 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. 

They 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 should. 

500 Tickets For A’s Boxla Fans 

Manager 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


The St. Catharines Standard 

Tuesday October 17, 1944 

Hail 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. 

Athletics 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. 

In 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 rigging. 

“Whoopee” Nets Two 

Bill (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. 

Nor 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 trail. 

Young 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. 

Saints Very Tired 

The 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. 

West Fought Hard 

Fishermen 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. 

Opener Won It 

The 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. 

After 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. 

Just Nip And Tuck 

Pinder 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. 

Whittaker 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 joyful 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 with congratulations. 

Back 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. 

New Westminster – Goal, Lee; defence, B. Dickinson, Meehan; rover, Wither; forwards, Pinder, Bryant, Hildebrand; subs, Douglas, Cavallin, Dale, E. Dickinson, Buchanan, Shaw, McPherson, Richardson and Barkley. 

St. Catharines – Goal, Whittaker; defence, C. Madsen, F. Madsen; rover, Nelson; forwards, Thorpe, Isaacs, Hayes; subs, Myers, Mackie, Morton, Cove, Doyle, Arthurs, Wright. 

Officials – Max Peart, Port Colborne; Morris Murphy, Mimico.

First Quarter

  Goal Assist Time
St. C. Isaacs Hayes 2:11
St. C. Myers - 5:22
N.W. Hildebrand Pinder 10:09
St. C. Cove Myers 10:36
St. C. Myers - 11:53
St. C. Morton Myers 13:36

No penalties

Second Quarter

  Goal Assist Time
St. C. Arthurs Thorpe 3:18
N. W. Pinder - 3:36
N. W. Hildebrand - 5:09
N. W. B. Dickinson - 6:12

Penalties - Doyle, F. Madsen (major)

Third Quarter

  Goal Assist Time
N. W. Bryant - 1:29
St. C. Arthurs - 5:34
N. W. Pinder Dale 14:57

No penalties

Fourth Quarter

  Goal Assist Time
St. C. Cove Hayes 1:46
St. C. Isaacs - 2:34
N. W. Hildebrand Bryant 2:47
St. C. Morton Isaacs 4:47
St. C. Nelson - 8:16
N. W. Bryant - 11:18
N. W. Pinder - 14:55

No penalties

The battle-weary veteran, Carl "Gus" Madsen accepts the Mann Cup on the crowded floor of the Barton Street Arena. Madsen hobbled through a serious knee injury to lead the A's to their 4th Mann Cup championship.

St. Catharines Athletics

First Row (Beside Mann Cup) - Bill Frick, Tommy Bye.

Second Row - Bill Whittaker, Jack Gatecliff, Jay MacDonald (Secretary), Bill Taylor (President), George Cleverley (Coach), Roy Morton, Bill DeMars (Trainer).

Third Row - Doug Cove, Sid Wright, Carl Madsen, Carson Myers, Vern Whitely, Bill Nelson, Frank Madsen.

Top Row - Bill Mackie, Bill Lachanse, Ken Croft, Gord Moore, George Coles, Norm MacDonald

related reading: An Interview With Ken "Weiner" Croft

An Interview With Tom Bye