History of the A's
Athletics Get Stronger in 1946
war was over, a massive return of Canadians to civilian life, the
beginning of the baby boom, and a great year for the St. Catharines
Athletics. Teams all across the Ontario Lacrosse Association were seeing
their rosters getting stronger as the available talent pool suddenly grew
larger. In St. Catharines, players hanging up their military uniforms and
donning the double blue uniforms of the local lacrosse team on a more
full-time basis included Doug Favell, “Ham” Nelson,
“Sparks”Urquhart, “Curly” Cheevers, Pat Smith, and the McMahons,
“Wandy” and kid brother Jimmy. But a couple of the local veterans such
as the popular “Tank” Teather and Port Dalhousie’s own Bill Mackie
somehow got sidetracked and ended up in the uniforms of Russell Kelley’s
Hamilton Tigers that year. An unfortunate sign of things to come for the
local boxla fans.
for the moment, it really couldn’t look too much better. The 1946 team
still had some of the fan favourites from the early Mann Cup teams such as
Morton, “Wandy”, Cheevers and Urquhart, now lining up with some great
youngsters that were just hitting their stride like “Ham” Nelson (back
from the RCAF), Stu Scott and Jim McMahon. The overall win-loss record of
the ’46 crew would be second only to the 1938 Hall Of Fame team in St.
Catharines senior boxla history, and was destined to have a late season
rendezvous with the New Westminster Salmonbellies for Mann Cup number
you stop to throw in a Minto championship for the Jr. Athletics in 1947,
it would seem the Haig Bowler’s dynasty would just keep rolling along
well into the rock-and-roll 50’s. Well, that’s how it looked on paper
now it’s the ’46 Athletics, one of the highest scoring teams in O.L.A.
history, against another storied franchise, the Brampton Excelsiors with
future Hall-Of-Famer Billy Brunskill lighting it up as he often did.
A’s RALLY FROM EARLY LOSS TO DOWN BRAMPTON BY 19 – 12 SCORE AND BOOST SENIOR BOXLA LEAD
Monday June 24,
6 – 1 in the first period at Rose Bowl in Brampton on Saturday night, it
took a courageous comeback on the part of St. Catharines Athletics, the
Eastern Canada lacrosse champions to rise to a well-merited 19 – 12
victory over the red-white Excelsiors of Coach Bert Large. The win was
necessary, to offset the current challenge of Owen Sound Georgians, who
cling doggedly to the heels of the double-blue Cleverley clan. Saints did
not appear to get going in the early stages and by 4 ½ minutes, the
homesters had hopped into a 4 – 0 lead. First bid for a goal from A’s
came at 3:45, when Jimmy McMahon sagged the hemp, but it was disallowed as
a crease step. When Pung Morton was tagged at 6:00 for slashing Ferrie,
A’s hustled plenty to kill off the odd man, but the Rose Bowlers went up
to 5 – 0 and in less than 3 minutes more they had made it the even six
and kept Saints off the sheet. Finally Billy Nelson broke the ice on Pat
Smith’s set-up in ten seconds at 6 – 1. Closing the chapter, Urquhart
was gated for slashing and Graham for charging 15 seconds part and both
sat out the start of the second. It was the first time this season that
A’s had trailed by as big a lead.
At The Half
little verbal urging in the rest period brought Saints out fighting mad.
Billy Nelson and Stu Scott stepped into the breach with some nifty stick,
foot and head work and rapped two quickies in before the minute-mark, with
Scott getting a second on a backhander at 1:25, then setting up Jim
McMahon and A’s were only down one at 6 – 5. They could not make
Anthony’s penalty pay off at 4:25, but at full power, Nelson aided Smith
to tie the tally at 6-all. In seconds Morton set MacDonald up and A’s
assumed the van for the first time. MacDonald was benched at 10:50 and
Billy Brunskill tallied right form the face off. A’s tried to rag the
ball, but play was called on Jack McMahon and a face-off forced. With a
minute to go, Taylor slashed Morton and was off duty to open the third,
the period ending at 7 – 7.
Way to Stall.
boys just got nicely away in the third when the time clock stopped and it
took 10 minutes to get another in action, so they started at scratch
again. Nelson, still hot as a tamale, soloed in for the opener, Wandy
McMahon made it 9 – 7 in another 1:25 and Cheevers from MacDonald 15
seconds later. Then Brunskill got two in a row, to make it four for him on
the night, paring the lead back to 10 – 9 and Brampton fans rioted.
set up MacDonald for a two-goal lead and Graham from Binsell again cut it
back to one. Excelsiors ran out of balls, when their goalie in clearing
hoisted it over his back and out into the dark reaches of Idylwood Park,
in what was intended as trying to cool Saints off by stalling the game and
giving the fading Reds a breather. The final three minutes were scoreless,
but A’s were playing better ball and retaining possession.
of the fast-snapping passes, dashes and shots of the last home game
cropped up in the final, with the McMahon brothers doing a yeoman chore
and aided splendidly by the rest of the Garden City blue-shirts. Jim
McMahon put Saints two up and 42 seconds later Nelson set up Smith for 13
– 10. Brampton rallied then and Taylor whittled it back one, only to
have Wandy McMahon twice give Norm MacDonald the needed passes for
tallies, then Jim McMahon added one from Smith-Nelson to put A’s four to
night’s spice came when Nelson and Binsell tangled for ten apiece and in
38 seconds Tommy Madsen drew a minor and had it upped to a major for
talking back. Despite the shortage, Saints showed their class when Jimmy
McMahon scored for a seven-goal lead at 18 – 11. Brunskill made it five
for him at 13:40 and Urquhart from Wandy McMahon tapered off the night
with the final 19 – 12. MacDonald was high sniper for A’s with 4 and
1, Nelson had 3 and 4, Wandy McMahon 1 and 3 and Smith and Scott 2 and 2
– Goal, Burroughs; defense, Anthony, Madgett (2); rover,
Garbutt (1); centre, Taylor (1); forwards, Morris, Graham (2); alternates,
Binsell, Brunskill (6); Gowland, Crawford, Ferrie, Wilson, Ewles,
Catharines – Goal, Favell; defense, Tom Madsen, Frank Madsen;
rover, Nelson (3); centre Smith (2); forwards, Jim McMahon (4), Scott (2);
subs, Urquhart (1), Morton (1), Cheevers (1), Wandy McMahon (1), MacDonald
– M. Haney of Mimico, and R.H. Carter of Toronto.
Morton, Urquhart, Graham.
Anthony, MacDonald, Taylor.
Penalties: Nelson (10 min.); Binsell (10 min.); T. Madsen (major)
Read the full story of the great Athletics team of 1946 in the featured stories section of this website.