1973 Blues

The 1973 Blues were the second team from North Glenora to represent Alberta at the Canada Summer Games. The following are reflections of members of the team.

We went off to play ball but as soon as we were done we all headed back to the hockey rink and had our first encounter with the sport of Lacrosse. Well from that time to when I finished playing in 1979, I was hooked. It was the most incredible childhood experience one could ever have.

Tom Cairns

Reflections: 1973 Blues Canada Games Team

The story of the 1973 Blues team starts in the North Glenora minor programme where the players were introduced to the game and started to develop their skills.  Lacrosse started in 1966 in the North Glenora community with the formation of the junior team and the start of a minor programme.

North Glenora was a great place to grow up. There were kids everywhere. Many of the kids played hockey in the winter, while in the summer it was baseball until lacrosse started in the community.  Tom Cairns remembers: “One weekday after school there were a few of the 135th Street Boys heading to Coronation school grounds ball-park to our first baseball practice. We had to cross the hockey rink and saw a couple of guys with these funny-looking sticks in hand. We went off to play ball but as soon as we were done we all headed back to the hockey rink and had our first encounter with the sport of Lacrosse. It evolved into the most incredible childhood experience one could ever have.”

Wayne Lamoureux thinks he saw it first in 1965 after a baseball practice in the Coronation school grounds. He could hear the ball banging on the boards and went over to see what was going on. He saw Bill Tayler and Allan Heather in the box, throwing the ball around. Wayne tried it out and was hooked.

Mark Valastin remembers a poster up at the community hall – Lacrosse players wanted – that attracted his attention. Keith Carter remembers being at the community association one day when JET came by with a bunch of sticks that he just threw down on the ground. Naturally, the kids just picked up the sticks and started to try to throw the ball around. There was no formal program – just a bunch of kids watching the older players and trying to develop their skills.

Some of the older kids had a couple of sticks. This was 1965/1966 and JET had lacrosse sticks for sale. Many of the community kids just gravitated to it – sticks were only $5.00 and it just seemed to be a better sport than baseball.

Mark remembers that it was JET that got all the kids together at the community outdoor hockey rink to show them how to tie up the stick and explain what lacrosse was and how it was played. This was hard for most of the kids to comprehend as they had never seen the game played. They learned little tricks on preparing and maintaining the stick for play like how to use popsicles sticks to keep the catgut straight & how to use a weighted ball to make a pocket.

135th Street was one of the central streets that had kids join up to play lacrosse. There was the Valastin house (4 players), next door the McFall’s (3 players), next door to the Cairns (also 3 players), and two doors down Parkers (1). On the other side of 135th Street were the Clarks (3 players) & the Bowlers (3 or 4 players) and down the street Wayne Lamoureux.  All of those kids became North Glenora lacrosse players from the one block.