History of the A's

 
 

Player Barriers Lowered As Concerns Are Raised

 

SPORT DONE BROWNE

by CLAYTON BROWNE

The St. Catharines Standard  

Wednesday May 7, 1947

The O. L. A. called a meeting to handcuff the two strongest teams in senior boxla, the Athletics and the Mounts (Mimico), who were said to have corralled the balance of power in the circuit. So what happened? The other five clubs from as many towns ganged up on the A’s and the M’s. It was the old business of the majority rules. So they just kicked the whole residence rule right out the window and now the Doppian loop is like a circus tent after the show – so wide open that it’s really outdoors.

The Saints and Mimico staged a stout fight to retain the rules but five to two is impossible odds. Just a casual glance at rival rosters does not show either one a powerhouse. Some dubious publicity, or box rumors, had those two making a runaway of the loop. Matter of fact, as it stands now and with only the 1946 releases standing between player and club, it becomes the most ridiculous situation ever seen in lacrosse.

At one time we thought wiser heads could lift the national summer game out of the morass. Surely no good game was ever kicked, booted or stomped around like it has suffered. With no residence rules existent, the next thing is to hammer the daylights out of the other rules and we’ll go on record as saying that unless some Solomon does not crop up with sane legislation right smartly, they will kill lacrosse as sure as sin.

Wednesday May 21, 1947

Lacrosse is proceeding slowly with haste, which just about explains it better than anything. When they kicked the residence rule out of the window, they also put a monkey wrench in the cogs and if they did not strip the gears, they certainly loosened a lot of teeth in the O.L.A. laws. Results are that the big guns of the O.L.A. are waiting to see which way the worm will turn, with regard to contract jumping. Worst worry could be that some clubs will not know how, or where, they will stand until June.

Down around the Haig Bowl where George Cleverley is boss and at City Hall where Secy. Disher holds forth, news is exceedingly mum and maybe for excellent reason. A’s know that any pre-season statements made here hop into print in Toronto and go willy-nilly to Mimico, Brampton, Weston and Owen Sound. All this agent can detect is that the Mann Cuppers have signed all sixteen regulars who were the 1946 champions of Canada and have added on red-headed Blain McDonald of Mimico and Don Frick of that lacrosse family of this city.

In passing it might be well to mention that in the two additions they have two boys with “lots on the ball.” Both McDonald and Frick can go out and get ‘em with the best in Ontario, have the legs and can travel for more than three minutes without a yell for relief. In addition, they can stickhandle with any in the province and any doubt of that will be speedily dispelled when the A’s get operating on the nets.

Any build-up on new addition takes nothing away from the gallants who captured the Mann Mug at Toronto, but ‘tis also a fact that the entry of red-thatched McDonald was a tonic to some of the more-or-less veterans whom the skeptics figured have seen better days. F’instance, teaming up McDonald with Jack McMahon and Joe Cheevers on a line gave the latter two new life in the Haig Bowl drills and fans got a real eye-opener at the dashing and flashing of that scoring trio.

It cannot be forgotten that the A’s have the best goalie in Canada in Doug Favell. He has the medal to prove his prowess after the 1946 cup finals, when he did as much as beat the Salmonbellies single-handed more than once. Along with big Bill Whittaker, it is nice to know that the hut door is well guarded for the champs and two star netminders prove as strong an asset as any competing club could desire.

Right now the weak link in the champs chain is that old bugbear, the defense. It’s been that way since away back when, but the A’s always manage to overcome the deficit in some way or other, even if it does cost them goals. By the bye, if enough influence, pressure, or what have you, is brought to bear, we have it on good medical authority that the best two-way defenseman in all of Canada is quite fit to play. That is Carl (Gus) Madsen, of whom there is none better as a rearwall-steadier to pals.

Recent operations in Toronto bring the information that the best cure for the ailing leg is nothing but good, hard play and the clean living that goes hand in hand with it, in the Madsen makeup. There’s not the shadow of a doubt but that the bowl voices would ring to the starry skies if Gus Madsen stepped into the Haig Bowl in the new double-blue togs of the Athletics, and in the same breath, a shiver of fright is sent down the enemy spines when they know they have to work around him to shoot, let alone score.

When the cup was regained last fall, the general talk was that some of the A’s sturdy wingers might be moved back to defense berths, where the leg strain is not heavy and weight mixed with brains is a potent factor. Such is good business, providing that Coach Cleverley can tutor them to properly stop a man, so that he stays put and in one piece. Too often, crude checking gets cheap penalties and that asset of Gus and Frank Madsen’s artistry is something not every rearwaller can work with success.

Some weeks back, this corner tried to impress on the boys the need of iron-man legs in a game that is more or less of a continuous pound, at least for wingers. To the majority, the tip took root and for cup retention, the hope stands that the idea is contagious. One thing is sure, both Mimico and Weston are priding themselves on the fact that they have the legs to travel and that may pay off in September.

After the O.L.A. opener broke the ice last week, the rest of the loop bided a bit. In this spotty weather of rain one day, shine the next, the A’s may make a fruitless trek to Mimico tonight in the first clash of the Saints–Mounts. If it goes on, it should be a hummer. Since it will be Red McDonald’s first show against his own town, they’ll be out to show him up in a bad light or make him take the ride.

The two strong rivals come right back here on the holiday night (Saturday) when the Haig Bowl will have its face lifted for 1947 and come out spick and span in new paints, replenished seats at the west end and sundry new parks board improvements.

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