John E. Tayler (JET)

May 9, 1918 – January 21, 1999

Founder and first coach of the North Glenora Blues

John Tayler was born on May 9, 1918, in the small English village of Haslemere, the son of Arnold Tayler and Elizabeth (Bess) Patteson. After World War I ended, the family returned to Edmonton, where Arnold ran his own insurance business.

The family were were enthusiastic participants in many community activities in Edmonton in the city’s west end. John played hockey, baseball, rode horses, and was a Boy Scout while his dad Arnold served as Scout Leader. John also played field lacrosse under the guidance of Edmonton sports enthusiast and leader Myles Palmer. He attended Westmount Elementary School and Victoria Composite High School. 

As a teenager, John was captivated by the new field of aviation and the exploits of the bush pilots who flew in and out of Blatchford Field in Edmonton not far from his home. Countless hours were spent after school and on weekends watching aircraft which resulted in the formation of his own dream to learn how to fly.

At the age of 18, John joined the Royal Air Force and left Edmonton and his family to begin his training in England. When World War II broke out in 1939, John’s training ended and he was soon stationed in the Middle East.

In March 1942, John was captured and taken as a prisoner-of-war by the Japanese. He remained a POW until August 1945.

In late 1945 after many months of recovery in England, John sailed home and subsequently boarded a train in Halifax en route to Edmonton. It was on this train ride that John met Margaret Sager who had also served during the war and who was on her way back to her home in Chilliwack, BC. They were married in 1946 and moved back to England where he was eventually stationed in Singapore for several years. John and Margaret returned to England where he continued his service in the RAF as their family grew in size. In 1957, John retired from the RAF and he and Margaret moved back to Canada and settled in Chilliwack BC.

In January 1961, John and Margaret moved to Edmonton with their six kids into their new home on 140th Street in the growing community of North Glenora. Both John and Marg became active in the North Glenora Community League as volunteers in many of the programs for children and youth. Eventually John became the Sports Director for North Glenora and embarked in 1965 on an initiative that eventually led to the formation of the North Glenora Blues Lacrosse Club. 

From 1965 to 1980, John devoted his life to the game of lacrosse. As a leader in the re-birth of lacrosse in Edmonton and Alberta, he played a key role in the development of not only the game but in the countless number of players who played the game. As a coach JET was an innovator drawing on sources like UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. He stressed high levels of physical conditioning and tactics that pushed the boundaries of the traditional lacrosse mindset of the time. The Blues developed an approach to the game known as ‘Blitz Lacrosse” that was aggressive and strategic in disrupting the flow of teams that were more conservative and systematic. 

After losing two consecutive finals in 1967 and 1968 to Meadowlark, John shared the vision of representing Alberta in the 1969 Canada Games with his players and the emerging North Glenora Blues lacrosse community.  By achieving that goal in 1969, the North Glenora Blues began the first of three consecutive trips to the Canada Games. John was immensely proud that both the 1973 and 1977 Blues represented our province on the national stage.

Although Margaret passed away in 1974, he continued to serve as a coach and administrative leader at both the local and provincial level. In 1981, John was the first recipient of the James McFall Award which recognizes a volunteer who has made a significant contribution to the game of Lacrosse in Alberta. Along with other interested community members, John helped to develop lacrosse in St. Albert.

What is John Tayler’s legacy?  At the time of his death, JET was well aware of the impact that lacrosse had on so many lives of individuals who had worn a Blues jersey or who were associated with the club in other ways. He knew that the game had changed the lives of many young men who embraced the game and who themselves gave back immeasurable amounts of time and energy to North Glenora and beyond. What he didn’t know was that over fifty years after the first throw around at the North Glenora box, many of the original Blues from those early teams remain connected and deeply appreciative of their experience. JET’s impact and influence was life-shaping and went well beyond the game of lacrosse.