James McFall Jr. Trophy

The James McFall Jr. Trophy is the most prestigious award presented by the Alberta Lacrosse Association to a volunteer who has made a significant contribution to the game of lacrosse in Alberta. This trophy has its roots in Alberta and was presented to the Alberta Lacrosse Association in the memory of James McFall Jr. by Dominion Construction Ltd.

James Russell McFall Sr., was born in Olds, Alberta and graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in 1927. He then spent a considerable amount of time in southern Alberta where he met and married his wife Florence and took up residence in Calgary.

On March 11, 1948, Jim and Florence had the first of four children. Jim McFall Jr. was named after his father and within the next couple of years a son Russell and a daughter Patricia were born in Calgary. In 1953, Jim McFall Sr. moved the family to Edmonton where they purchased a home in the North Glenora district of West Edmonton. In 1954, a son Bob arrived to complete the family unit.

Jim McFall Jr. spent his entire childhood in the North Glenora community and did all his schooling in Edmonton. He attended Coronation Elementary School, Westminster Junior High School, Ross Sheppard High School, and the University of Alberta where he graduated with a Civil Engineering degree in 1970. Upon graduation in 1970, Jim McFall began work with Dominion Construction.

Jim was passionate about hockey but concentrated his efforts in the area of refereeing and eventually was considered a senior minor hockey official in the Edmonton area. Jim’s lacrosse career began in the summer of 1966 when the North Glenora Midget hockey team decided to take up the challenge of learning how to play lacrosse with the eventual goal of being the Alberta representative at the first Canada Games in 1969 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. From 1966 to 1969, Jim was involved in playing, coaching, and refereeing lacrosse as it was developing in the city of Edmonton and in other parts of the province. In 1969, the North Glenora Blues, with Jim as one of the captains of the team, won the right to represent Alberta at the Canada Games in Halifax. It was a tremendous lacrosse experience for everyone who was involved with the team and was the first national tournament that an Alberta team had attended in the modern era of lacrosse in Alberta.

After 1969, Jim confined his efforts to refereeing and became a Senior lacrosse referee within the province of Alberta. He served as Referee-in-Chief for a number of years and was known as an honest and knowledgeable official who inspired others to ‘pick up a whistle’ and join the refereeing contingent.

But on May 16, 1978, Jim McFall Jr. unexpectedly passed away in his sleep at the age of 30. At the time, he was serving as a co-chair of the 1978 Commonwealth Games Lacrosse Committee. He was survived by his wife Marg who continues to reside in the Edmonton area today.

Shortly after his death, Dominion Construction Ltd. commissioned artist John Weaver to sculpture the figure that you see on this trophy today. Since that time the Alberta Lacrosse Association has awarded this trophy to individuals who have made a commitment to good sportsmanship and to the development of the game of lacrosse.

The first recipient of the award was Blues founder and coach John Tayler (JET) in 1981. Other North Glenora Blues recipients were Jim Burke (1985), Peter Sonnen (1996) and Lee Caryle (2014). Lee traces his commitment to refereeing as a direct result of Jim McFall Jr.’s influence on him.

Jim McFall Jr. had a profound impact on those around him and, to this day, is sadly missed.