History of the A's




The grand game in St. Catharines took a major setback in 1899 when a visiting Orangeville Dufferin player was severely attacked during a match and then again after the game's completion. The local fifth estate was in a petulant mood after this ugly incident, and rightly so.

The Athletics would withdraw from competition before the end of the season as well as suspend operations for the entire season of 1900.



The Daily Standard

Thursday, July 20, 1899


Some of the members of the Athletic Lacrosse club felt very keenly the strictures of the Standard and the other local papers on Tuesday’s game. We are not surprised at that—indeed, it would be cause for wonder if they had become so callous as to regard with composure an outburst of disgust from spectators of the game such as was never before occasioned in this city and was only accurately reflected in the city press. It won’t do, however, just to wait until the bad feeling aroused against the game passes away in course of time. That is too slow a process. There are other games scheduled to be played here, and if the club desires the patronage of those who desire to see good clean lacrosse without slugging or other brutal features, it must give some evidence of its disapproval of those who gave Tuesday’s game its disagreeable and disgusting features. Richardson must be absolutely barred from playing in any matches in this city, and any other members of the team who have displayed a tendency to roughness warned that hereafter the managing committee will not tolerate in the team anything but gentlemanly playing. The people must be shown that the fastest and cleanest lacrosse can be played by gentlemen and can be patronized by ladies and other spectators without danger of being called upon to be involuntary eye witnesses of a slugging match. A duty devolves upon the officers and managing committee to purge the game in this city of the slugging element, and when they have done this, and can assure the public of not merely close and exciting games, but clean, sportsmanlike and gentlemanly lacrosse, then the old-time fervent interest in the game will be aroused, the best class of citizens will attend the matches, and the sight of well-filled grand-stand and bleachers once again cheer the hearts of the club management.

In regard to the duty of an officer at a lacrosse game, the chief explains that a policeman, unless he actually sees an assault committed, cannot make an arrest, but must wait to do so until armed with a formal authority in the shape of a warrant. Officer Ross says that he did not actually see the assault committed upon Dowling, as he was outside the gate at the time, but he then hurried in and assisted in keeping the crowd back. Had he seen the blow struck, the chief says that Ross would not for a moment have hesitated in arresting the one who did it. What the Orangeville manager should have done, he says, was to have laid an information in the case before he left the city.


Story footnote: Fred Dowling of the Orangeville Dufferins would eventually become Rev. F. S. Dowling of the First United Church in St. Catharines