History of the A's


The Glory Returns


1938 was a magical year for the Athletics. A generation of home-grown lacrosse stars were coming of age together and they produced one of the strongest teams ever in the history of the Canadian box game. That '38 team featured 10 players that would be inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

I have pushed the time period for this era out till the end of the forties, even though the last Athletics' Mann Cup win came in 1946. The Athletics of 1947-49 still included a healthy representation of the stars of the earlier years, while the support of the local fans remained relatively strong. Also, these teams continued to be serious contenders even though they wouldn't actually get another shot at the big dance (the very good 1948 team was beaten in a seven-game Ontario playoff by the eventual Mann Cup champion Hamilton Tigers, a team that was reinforced by a few ex-Athletics to add a bitter-sweet taste to the defeat).

During this era the Garden City Arena was opened in 1938, but in the 65+ years that followed, the Athletics would rarely use this facility as their base of operations.

The factories of St. Catharines would expand operations in response to wartime production needs and utilize a larger female labour force. More than 4,000 residents of St. Catharines would serve in the armed forces in the Second World War and 215 would be killed in action. The population of St. Catharines in the 1941 census was 30,275.

In the years after the war, the Port Weller Dry Docks were established, parking meters were installed downtown, and in 1949, the passenger steamer Northumberland would be destroyed by fire in Port Dalhousie harbour. In the field era of Athletics lacrosse, the steamer service between Port Dalhousie and Toronto had played a significant role in the development of St. Catharines as a lacrosse centre of note in southern Ontario. The destruction of the Northumberland at the end of the decade may have symbolized the decline of more than one of the city's beloved icons of the past.

The Athletics scrapbook for this era includes:

September 24, 1938 Athletics dethrone Terriers in O. L. A.
October 7, 1938 Sizing up the innovative Adanacs
October 13, 1938 Athletics win Mann Cup!
October 14, 1938 Mann Cup afterglow
October 2, 1939 Athletics receive royal sendoff
October 19, 1939 Win or lose, St. Kitts loves their team
October 15, 1940 Athletics win second Mann Cup!
May 30, 1941 The great battle for Doug Cove 
October 20, 1941 A's pushed to game five in B. C.
October 21, 1941 A's win Mann in British Columbia
October 27, 1941 And the band played on
July 10, 1942 R. C. A. F. flyers grounded by A's in charity game  
July 30, 1942 "Bucko" McDonald's short double-blue career
May 13, 1943 Hard times
September 7, 1943 Teams play "water-boxla"
September 14, 1943 A's make an early exit
October 6, 1944 A's battle C.L.A. then get help to win 4th Mann  
September 29, 1945 Cup goes west in '45
June 24, 1946 Athletics get stronger in 1946
May 3, 1947 A's capture another winter league title
May 7, 1947 Player barriers lowered as concerns are raised
September 20, 1948 A's upset by Mann Cup bound Tigers
November 27, 1948 A warning to the boys (unheeded)
February 26, 1949 A's struck with season suspensions