1969 Blues – Our Story

The compelling story of the 1969 North Glenora Blues lacrosse team shows why sports matter. Through personal narratives, our documentary will showcase the relationship of the 1969 Blues lacrosse team with the game, with each other, and with their communities while serving as
inspiration for current athletes, coaches, parents, and all of those who care about sports.

The game of box lacrosse was introduced to the West Edmonton community of North Glenora in the summer of 1966. North Glenora resident, John Tayler, along with a small number of other like-minded sports enthusiasts in the city, led the introduction of lacrosse to the community’s youth. Between 1966 and 1969, a group of young men in North Glenora embraced the game, developed skills, and unfurled a new passion for Canada’s national summer game. With no prior experience and an absence of any established clubs or teams to guide them, this collection of athletes, with curiosity and commitment, began a journey. The experience would shape the lives of each of them, contribute greatly to the growth of the game itself, and inspire younger generations to continue a passion for excellence.

Through personal narratives, artifacts, and archival materials, the story of the North Glenora Blues and its 1969 Canada Games team, is worth telling. While there is an important historical component, this story goes beyond three years as it tells the impact of the game on each player and the subsequent influence on their lives. Fifty-five years have passed since these men first picked up a ball and a stick, learned the game, and became the first Alberta team to represent the province in the 1969 Canada Games.

How did this happen? What were the driving forces that developed the necessary skills, attitudes, and desire to compete at the national level? What role did teamwork, collaboration, and community play in the development of this story? These teenagers brought no extraordinary
experiences or backgrounds. Most were community hockey players who initially saw the game as a way to stay in condition during the summer. Early on, it was nothing more than that. But for Blues founder and coach, John Tayler, the dream was bigger. As part of the growing interest in
the game across Canada, John (JET) set his sights at the national level and the Canada Games in Halifax in the summer of 1969.

With that goal in mind, the team is set to work. Through local and provincial competitions, skill levels evolved. Exposure to experienced teams from British Columbia and Ontario provided the all-important modelling that was needed. In their third year of existence, the North Glenora Blues achieved their goal by winning the Alberta Junior championship and boarding a flight to Halifax in August 1969 to compete in the Canada Summer Games.

But the narrative of the 1969 Blues doesn’t stop in Halifax. In the three years leading up to the Canada Games, the groundwork for something bigger was being laid. Through the inspiration provided by the 1969 team, the North Glenora Blues represented Alberta in the Canada Summer Games in 1973 and again in 1977, while the club itself grew in size, success, and influence.

Although the remaining members of the 1969 team are now in their early seventies, the connection to the North Glenora Blues remains strong. The lives of each team member were impacted, influenced, and shaped in ways that can only be understood through reflection that comes with time and age.

Why is this story important to tell in 2022? How can it inspire and influence current and future generations of not only lacrosse players but youth involved in many different sports? Are the forces that motivated the 1969 Blues the same as those that drive the pursuit for excellence in today’s game?

This is a story about how a sport changed the lives of a group of young athletes and helped to create a community lacrosse club that, to this day, continues to have an impact on youth who, like the original Blues, have found their place in the remarkable game of lacrosse.