History of the A's

 
 

The Sixties and Beyond

 
 

The days of victory parades, regimental bands at the grounds, impassioned speeches by proud mayors, and thousands of well-wishers swarming to be near their heroes, were gone. In 1904 when the Athletics beat arch-rival Brantford, hats and coats went in the air and people from all walks of life ran onto the field and carried the Athletics off on their shoulders. In 1939 an estimated 8,000 citizens waited for the return of the Athletics after their five-day rail trip from British Columbia, not to welcome home the victors but to console the losers. What a remarkable history for a team and for the city that loved it. Perhaps the history of the St. Catharines Athletics is just as much a story of the city and an overwhelming sense of community that rallied its proud citizens around their own double-blues. "Remember, old team, old town, old victories" was the simple message wired to the Athletics in Vancouver in 1912. Team and town indeed had a such tremendous bond.

In the modern era a cadre of dedicated supporters and lovers of all things double-blue, have tried to rebuild the once fabled Athletics. To all those who have tried and failed, and tried again, we salute.

Maybe the golden Mann Cup will bear the proud name of the St. Catharines Athletics once again.

In 1961, St. Catharines amalgamated with Port Dalhousie, Merritton and parts of Grantham township, and the city's population jumped to 84,000. Brock University was founded in 1964, the Rex Stimers Arena opened in 1966, Regional Government was formed in 1970 and the Bill Burgoyne Arena was opened in 1973 (the same year that the old Haig Bowl was torn down). Harold Ballard moved an American Hockey League franchise into the Garden City Arena in 1982 (the Saints lasted just four seasons), the St. Catharines General Hospital received the area's first CAT scan in 1984, and recycling blue boxes came into use in 1988. In 1998, the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame officially opened and in the fall of 2005, the new four-pad arena complex was opened in west St. Catharines.

The Athletics scrapbook of this era includes:

June 27, 1960 Jim McNulty is a double-blue again
June 21, 1961 Sports Hall of Fame calls Fitzgerald
August 17, 1961 Lacrosse at the crossroads
August 10, 1962 Dedication...young and old
August 29, 1962 Lou spoils Moore's magic
September 10, 1963 "It's been a long time"
September 17, 1963 Athletics again play for the Mann Cup
May 27, 1964 A's shine early in 1964
May 14, 1965 Joe Cheevers takes over the helm
June 12, 1965 Joe fires up A's while son eyes NHL
April 1, 1966 Rex Stimers remembered
May 3, 1966 Athletics fold (almost) 
June 23, 1966 Lacrosse Here's Howe  
July 14, 1966 The losses mount
July 25 , 1966 Athletics fold
August 25, 1969 The Golden Hawks of the E. P. L. A.
September 22, 1970 A trip to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame
June 29, 1976 The "Old Grounds" remembered
November 30, 1976 Joe Cheevers remembered
August 5, 1989 Doug Cove Goes To The Hall Of Fame
May 18, 1999 The senior Athletics are reborn
September 5, 2000 Jack Gatecliff remembered
July 13, 2001 Jimmy McMahon Goes To The Hall Of Fame
July 16, 2003 Ken Croft Goes To The Hall Of Fame
July 28, 2005 Major Athletics final home game
July 18, 2008 Gary Moore & Al Frick Go To The Hall Of Fame

SCRAPBOOK

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