Lacrosse, Canada’s National Summer Sport, has a rich history in the Peterborough area; a story meticulously documented by Don Barrie in Lacrosse: The Peterborough Way published in 2007. Written over the course of 15 years, Barrie’s narrative begins with an acknowledgement of the game’s origins by First Nations and its introduction to the struggling pioneer town of Peterborough in 1872.
Barrie's chronicle has been extensively edited for presentation here by AK Graphics.
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by Gordon Gibb
When he was 9, doctors told his parents their son—born with a heart condition—would likely not see 30.
Barry Larock fooled them all. But more than that, for a man who endured six open-heart surgeries he lived with such heart and passion.
It wasn't his heart that claimed Barry in the end, but a rare form of cancer that he had battled over four long years. Hard. He gave it everything he had—which is how he lived his life.
Barry—'Rocko', or 'Rocky' to his friends—has been a part of my life for some 25 years. He married Jennifer, who has known my wife since their college days at Loyalist in Belleville. They've been over to our place for dinner and we, over to theirs. They've been up to our various summer places over the years. We were there when they got married, we were there when Trent was born and we've watched him grow up.
Trent and my son Braeden have been lifelong friends.
And there are hundreds of stories like mine. Everybody knew and loved Rocko, and he knew everybody. At one time he worked at Peterborough This Week as their sports writer. Later he worked as a recreationist for the City of Peterborough.
But Barry was a sports guy and avid lacrosse fan and supporter. Trent plays. And Barry was a valued member of the Peterborough Lakers family.
He'd had a rough winter in 2010, after the experimental treatments he had dared to try—to fight the horrendous disease that was ravaging his body if not his soul and spirit—stopped working. With medical intervention no longer an option, he was left to let nature take its course and acknowledge his fate.
I say acknowledge. Note I didn’t say surrender. With the possible exception of his wife and son, to whom he surrendered fully and completely, Barry Larock refused to surrender to anything. He may have been resigned to it, as we are all resigned to our respective fates one day—but surrender was not in his vocabulary.
I knew he would be acknowledged at the Lakers home opener in May 2010. But I didn't expect to see him. Throughout the spring he had been spending increasing amounts of time at home, hooked up to oxygen. I had last spoken with him a few weeks prior when I picked up my son from a sleepover at Trent's house. Rocko, in PJs and dragging an oxygen tube, made sure he came out to say hello. That was Rocko. A people person to the end.
And when I looked up during that evening in May at the Memorial Centre, there he was. In one of the suites. Rocko was part of the Lakers family, after all. A vital part. An irreplaceable part. There was no way he was going to miss it.
I tried to get his attention, but he was too focused on the game, sitting up there in the box next to the corner Molson suite, lights off, together with a few friends and team staff. I would have gone over between periods to say hello, but he looked tired and there would have been a lot of people in that building pressing to greet him. I just would have been just one more. So I held back, and simply continued waving to get his attention. I never did…
He was at a ball game just a few days before he died. It was the Westmount tournament at Morrow Park and Trent was pitching. There was no way he was going to miss seeing his son play. There he was, with his oxygen, enjoying a nice sunny day and a game or two of ball from the stands. In hindsight, just 5 days before the end came, it must have taken a superhuman effort for him to be there. But that's the kind of father he was.
Barry Larock was a man who succeeded in building, and leaving a legacy we would all be proud to foster. This was a man who touched many, many lives in this community, and beyond. For a man who faced so many personal challenges, he rose above them time and time again with a strength and stubbornness that would put us all to shame. Of course, those latter two qualities he came by honestly through his parents, Lorraine and Patrick. Pat has since joined his son in the Hereafter.
Barry embraced life and those around him. Perhaps it was because he had to work so hard to get here. He had his first of six open-heart surgeries at the age of 2. In his 45 years, he accomplished more than many people would in several lifetimes.
He will forever be a part of the Lakers family. A true fan of the game, Barry was instrumental in helping to build the current Lakers dynasty. It is fitting, in a drive to the championship that the team dedicated to Barry last year that the Lakers won the Mann Cup in 2010, at home, in front of record crowds. Crowds that Barry Larock helped to build.
A series, and a championship season, for the ages.
It was also, and always will be, for Barry.
The following trophies are awarded to individual players at the year-end banquet.
Barry Larock Most Valuable Player
2012 - John Grant Jr.
Lou Nickle Memorial Award for Best Defence
2012 - Mac Allen
Don Bruce Memorial for Most Sportsmanlike
2012 - Brad Self
2012 - Shawn Evans
2012 - Mark Steenhuis
Rookie of the Year
Robert Joseph Award for Most Dedicated
2012 - Andrew Suitor & Mark Steenhuis
Most Improved Player
2012 - Mark Farthing
Ron Keast Award for Transition Player of the Year
2012 - Brad Self
2010 - 2012
Fifteen Peterborough players were on the 2010 Mann Cup winning team (shown below), the 13th in Peterborough's history. Trailing Brampton in the MSL Final, the Lakers regrouped and took the series. Shawn Evans won the Mike Kelly MVP Award.
After winning a tough battle with Six Nations Chiefs in the MSL Semi-Final in 2011, the Lakers had little left and lost in six games to Brampton who again went on to Mann Cup glory against the Langley Thunder.
In 2012, the Lakers made it back to the Mann Cup, virtually sweeping all opponents in the East with Tyler Carlson providing solid goaltending. Despite bowing to the Langley Thunder in the first two games, they roared back with Mike Thompson in goal to win the next four and take the series and the Mann Cup. Thompson won the Mike Kelly MVP award.
2000 – 2009
For the first three years of this decade, the Lakers’ fate was similar, elimination in the first round of the playoffs. In 2003, they made it to the OLA final, but not to the Mann Cup.
In 2000, John Grant Jr. ended up second in scoring. The next year, both he and Tracey Kelusky were lured west. Joey Hiltz and Joey Teatro helped fill the gap, with Hiltz finishing 3rd in the league in scoring in 2001.
Gloria Coombes, widow of Cy, announced the creation of a plaque to honour the memory of the great lacrosse player. It was to be given annually to a lacrosse person who best exemplified Cy and his dedication to the game. Ted Higgins, (shown here) owner of the Lakers, was the first recipient in 2002.
In July of 2003, the Lakers Alumni hosted an Alumni Weekend with a golf tournament, Masters game and a ceremony honouring the Peterborough Mann Cup champions from 1951 to 1954.
The summer of 2003 was complicated for the Lakers by the renovation of the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
The playoffs that year featured a bench-clearing brawl between the Lakers and St. Catharines Athletics just 13 minutes into the third game of their OLA semi-final series. Eight players ended up with game-misconduct penalties including each team’s starting goalies Derek Collins and Anthony Cosmo.
A massive power outage across Southern Ontario forced the postponement of game seven by three days. Brad Self led the Lakers with four goals with Matt Giles adding three to defeat the Athletics. The players began to call their way of doing things “The Lakeshow.”
In the OLA final against Brampton, the Lakers were forced to play in the Kinsmen Centre. With the Memorial Centre still closed and the Peterborough Petes hockey training camp using both ice pads in the Evinrude Centre, Lakers’ president Ted Higgins made arrangements to rent the carpet used by the NLL’s Ottawa team. It was to be put over the ice of the Evinrude Centre. It cost $1,000 to truck the carpet to the city. But the carpet was 18 inches too short! It was too late to move the game back to the Kinsmen Centre that night, because ice making had already begun and the surface was unplayable. The game had to be postponed and Brampton went on to win the series.
In front of 400 fans, the Lakers lost their home opener in 2004. The season had not started well. But things were about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Lakers shut out Windsor 22 – 0 in June. In mid-July, the Lakers Alumni restored, to the ceiling of the Memorial Centre, a banner listing the ten Canadian titles Peterborough senior and major teams had won.
Game four of the semi-final with Six Nations brought about 126 minutes in penalties including four fights. Three thousand fans turned out for game five back in Peterborough. Prior to the game, Don Barrie received the prestigious Cy Coombes award.
Game five went to Peterborough. Game six went to Six Nations. And again there were plenty of fights. And intimidation by fans after the game. Peterborough prevailed in game seven.
Peterborough’s third experiment with a carpet was less than successful too. The Lakers were able to secure a carpet discarded as unusable by the NLL Toronto Rock. Once it was laid, it was obvious why it was literally on the way to the dump when it was diverted to Peterborough.
The series with Brampton went the distance. In game five, John Grant Jr. garnered 11 points after potting the highlight reel game winner in overtime in the previous game. A capacity crowd of nearly 4000 tested the new design of the Peterborough Memorial Centre for the first time. The Lakers didn’t disappoint. They were headed to the Mann Cup.
In winning the cup in 2004, the Lakers had 13 Peterborough natives on the team. John Grant Jr.was the series MVP.
While the Lakers repeated as OLA champs, the Victoria Shamrocks defeated them in overtime of game six to win the Mann Cup.
In 2006, Tracey Kelusky (pictured here) returned to the Lakers and meshed beautifully with John Grant Jr. The two had grown up together and played both hockey and lacrosse since they were kids. They played off each other as well as any Peterborough duo since maybe Bob Allan and Bob Curtis or Cy Coombes and John Davis.
That year, Tim Barrie was awarded the Cy Coombes Award for his years of playing and sponsoring lacrosse in the city.
On August 30th, lacrosse great Ike Hildebrand passed away. He had been the youngest player to win the Mike Kelly Award for the MVP of the Mann Cup Series. He did it as a 17-year-old with the New Westminster Salmonbellies in 1944. He was later a member of four Mann Cup winners with Peterborough.
The Lakers won their second Mann Cup in a row and 11th in their history. Dan Carey was named the series MVP.
In the spring of 2007, Peterborough lacrosse lost another great player when Terry Davis died.
John Grant Jr. received further accolades in 2007 when he was voted by Inside Lacrosse magazine as the best player in the NLL as well as the Flashiest Player. In June, he was honoured as Rochester’s Pro Athlete of the Year. And to top it off, he was later named MVP of the Mann Cup series.
The year was capped off with the Lakers third Mann Cup in four years.
In 2008, the Peterborough Lakers purchased a high-quality Sportexe Dieterturf carpet for use by all lacrosse teams playing in the Peterborough Memorial Centre (PMC). The carpet was purchased and installed at a cost of approximately $120000. Finally, on the fourth attempt, a carpet of high quality was in the city to stay.
For the third consecutive year, more than 40000 fans attended games over the course of the 2008 season. Finishing second in the regular season, Brampton won the 7th game in the Eastern final and went on to win the Mann Cup. While the prize eluded the Lakers in 2008 and again in 2009, they were back in 2010.
1990 - 1999
In the 1990s, there were individual successes, but no Mann Cups.
The present-day coach of the Lakers, Jamie Batley played for Canada at the World Field Lacrosse Championship in 1990.
Quakers' rookie, Joey Hiltz came up one point short in the OLA scoring race and received the league's rookie award. But the Quakers didn't make it past the first round of the playoffs.
In 1991, the Quakers failed to emerge from the three-team round robin playoffs. The controversial robin-robin major series ended up with all three teams with identical 2-win, 2-loss records. The tie-breaking formula of goals-for plus goals-against divided by goals-for was used to determine the two teams advancing to the final best-of-seven series. Peterborough entered their final game of the series needing to outscore Brooklin in order to advance. Some very strange lacrosse was the result. Tied late in the game 13-13, Brooklin did not want the game to enter overtime. The extra ten minutes would give the Quakers a chance to outscore the Redmen by the seven goals needed. The solution was obvious for Brooklin coach, Peter Vipond; score in their own net to give Peterborough the one-goal win in regulation time. With eight seconds remaining, Greg Van Sickle threw the ball into his own net. Peterborough countered by pulling goalie Terry Preston and scored into their own empty net. The game ended with the Quakers winning 14-13 but being eliminated from the playoffs.
In 1992, the Quakers did make it past Brooklin, but were eliminated by the eventual Mann Cup winners Brampton.
Struggling, and failing, to post a .500 season in 1993, the Quakers lost in the first round of the playoffs again. But some familiar names were starting to emerge in the minor ranks that would bring Mann Cups in the next decade; Aaron Grayson, Mike Hobbins, Shawn Evans, Kyle and Brock Sorenson.
In June of 1994, the team suspended operations because it lacked players and money. Local businessman Ted Higgins stepped in and saved the team, but it failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. The team again took the name Lakers.
Jamie Batley represented Canada again in the 1994 World Field Lacrosse Championship.
In 1995, Don Bye died at the age of 59. Don never played lacrosse, but his support first with the senior team and later with the minors kept the sport alive in the city.
The Major Lakers struggled all year. They finished in fifth place and out of the playoffs, winning just four games all season while losing sixteen. A total of 54 players played at least one game for the Lakers over the course of the season.
In 1996, rookie John Grant Jr. (pictured below) ended the season in second place in the OLA scoring race, 19 points behind the leader, John Tavares. The Lakers were eliminated by Six Nations in five games in the first playoff round.
The depth of despair for the game in the city was easy to see in 1997, as local athletes looked elsewhere to play. Jim Milligan and Jamie Batley commuted across Ontario to play for the Six Nations Arrows. Others to forsake the team were Bob Davis, Larry Downer and Jason Spoelstra who all went to Brooklin to play. Head Coach Dan Dunn expressed his dismay at the lack of pride. It was a low point for the Lakers.
Don Barrie took over the coaching reins in 1998. Bob Keast, John Grant Jr., Tracey Kelusky, Kevin Biggs, Tom Wreggett, Derek Collins and Craig Milligan formed the nucleus of a resurgent Lakers team that was beginning to regain its pride.
Tracey Kelusky takes flight.
While the Lakers won the first round of the playoffs, they couldn't get past the Akwesasne Thunder. The pride was back and it would carry the Lakers to Mann Cup victories in the next decade.
In December of 1999, Cy Coombes passed away.
1980 – 1989
During this decade the team had three different names: the Red Oaks, the Lakers and the Quakers.
On the July 1st holiday weekend in 1980, the major Red Oaks and the junior Centurians gave lacrosse fans of Peterborough a special treat, a double header.
The big story for the Red Oaks late in their schedule was the play of forty-one year old Larry Ferguson. But it wasn't enough to ensure them a place in the Mann Cup.
By 1981, OLA rules limiting the number of former pro players were shelved. Despite this, the Senior A teams continued to suffer from a lack of players. Work commitments, injuries and a lack of interest contributed to the problem. Fan interest waned.
One player to bring a new attitude to the team in 1981 was Paul Evans. The next year featured the return of Brian Evans to the Lakers from six seasons in the WLA. Bob Wasson(pictured below in 1966), Tim Barrie and John Grant Sr. also featured in the revival. Even the Lakers backup goalie Greg Crawford got on the game sheet in a unique way by scoring a goal.
Tickets for the 1982 Mann Cup at the PMC were $5.00. Led by Jim Wasson, who won the Mike Kelly MVP Award, the Lakers defeated the New Westminster Salmonbellies in six games. For the second time in a decade, Peterborough had both senior and junior lacrosse titles.
There were some crazy antics in 1983. Two Brooklin fans attempted to steal the banner of the Minto Cup winning Peterborough James Gang. They did not succeed. And in game three of the Mann Cup, Lakers player J.J. Johnston mooned the Victoria Shamrock fans! The Lakers lost as Victoria won in six games.
The Mann Cup did not stay out west for long. Having won 23 out of 24 regular season games, the Lakers powered their way to another series victory. In game two of the series, J.J. Johnston scored five goals, giving him 61 for Mann Cup play, a record that had been set in the 1930s. John Grant Sr. was named MVP of the tournament.
In 1985, Bob Wasson had a 15-point night as the Lakers thrashed the Scarborough Saints 41 – 3.
An amazing comeback performance occurred against Brampton as the Lakers scored three goals in 17 seconds. Jan Magee, Frank Kiley and Paul Evans scored to ensure a 7 – 5 victory.
Conflicts over the use of the Peterborough Memorial Centre surfaced in the late 1980s and let to the formation of a Mayor’s Task Force on Lacrosse chaired by Don Barrie. A $103,000 carpet was purchased to lay over the ice surface, but with few playoff-bound lacrosse teams at the time, a per-use charge of $1000 by the Memorial Centre, and preferential treatment given to other arena users, the carpet sat in storage and was eventually sold to the Rochester Knighthawks of the NLL.
Only three teams opted to play senior lacrosse in 1986, however on positive note, six players from the Lakers were part of coach Bob Allan’s team for the World Field Lacrosse Championship - Bob Wasson, John Grant Sr., John Munroe, Monty Keast, Ron Harnick and Peter Follows.
Larry Ferguson agreed to coach the Lakers in 1987. The team became the Peterborough Quakers in 1988, but there would be no more Mann Cups this decade.
In 1989, Moon Wooten passed away at the age of 62.
John Grant Sr. became the Quakers coach as the decade ended.
1970 – 1979
The professional experiment ended in 1969 and the Lakers returned to the OLA Senior A league.
Bob Allan officially retired after a 16-year senior career and focused on coaching.
The team made it to the Mann Cup in 1970 after a five-game series with the Brantford Warriors that included a bench-clearing brawl. It was precipitated by a head slash on Lakers star John Davis that rendered him unconscious.
However, the Lakers lost to the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the Mann Cup in four straight games.
In the final season game, the Warriors’ fans tried to attack the Lakers’ players in the hall leading to the dressing room and peppered the Lakers’ bus with beer bottles. Pat Baker’s mask was stolen in the scuffles with the fans.
On a brighter note, John Davis clinched the OLA scoring title with a record 73 goals and 121 assists.
The Brantford team prevailed in the playoffs and went on to win the Mann Cup and repeated the feat in 1972 despite the Lakers trio of John and Terry Davis and Cy Coombes (pictured right) dominating the regular-season scoring race.
The 1973 version of the Lakers struggled to post a .500 win-loss average. It was John Grant Sr.’s rookie season and goalie Pat Baker’s (pictured below) final. Despite the regular-season disappointment, the team rallied to win the unusual one-game Mann Cup final. The win was historic for another reason. It was the first time in lacrosse history in Canada, that the same city had won both the senior and junior titles.
Senior lacrosse was not played in Peterborough from 1974 to 1977. The re-established National Lacrosse League drew most the elite players away. Sixteen from the 1973 Lakers team were drafted. The OLA Major Series essentially became a Senior B league.
Bob Allan ended up as head coach for the Philadelphia Wings. Don Barrie became his assistant. By 1976, Peterborough players had six of the top 15 scoring positions in the league. John Davis was third, John Grant Sr. sixth, Jim J.J. Johnston ninth, Jan Magee tenth, Brian Evans 14th and Jim Wasson 15th.
In February 1976, the league suspended operations. But the OLA banned, for two years, all returning professional players. Many ended up in the Western Lacrosse Association.
In 1978, the Peterborough Red Oaks represented the city in the OLA Senior A league. A total ban was no longer in effect, however only five former pros were allowed to compete for each team. The Red Oaks struggled early in the season because of injuries and because Tim Barrie, Jim Wasson and Dave Huntley were away representing Canada at the World Championships. However, an overflow crowd at the Memorial Centre in September watched the Red Oaks beat the Victoria Shamrocks to reclaim the Mann Cup. Victoria would return the favour in 1979 by downing the Red Oaks in four straight.
1960 - 1969
The 1960s started badly for lacrosse in Peterborough. The Senior A team didn't make it to the Mann Cup in 1960 and from 1961 to 1963, there was no senior lacrosse at all in the city. Upwards of ten Peterborough players at any one time were making the regular commute to play in Brooklin. Pat Baker, Ted Higgins, Ken Ruttan, Harold Stevenson, Bob Stickle, Grant Heffernan, Rock Batley, Joe Todd, Bill Armour, Cy Coombes, Larry Ferguson, Roy Wood and Don Barrie played at some time during the season.
Senior A lacrosse returned to the city in 1964 with the name Peterborough Speedy Erns. The 1966 team, the renamed Peterborough Pepsi Petes, won the city’s fifth Mann Cup. After becoming the Don Bye Petes in 1967, the team failed to make it to the Mann Cup.
In 1968, the team became the Lakers. In recognition for naming the team, fan Ron Board received a pair of season tickets. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sent a telegram wishing them well. Alderwoman Aileen Holt represented Mayor Joe Behan at center floor. MP Hugh Faulkner and league VP Spencer Lyon were on hand.
Why all the fuss?
It was the inaugural season of the National Lacrosse Association; the first attempt in three decades at a professional game.
For the first time, a 45-second clock was introduced. The concept was an immediate hit with the fans.
The top scorer that year was John Davis with 174 points in the regular season and 33 in the playoffs. But the points weren’t enough to get the Lakers to the final round of the playoffs. And there was no Mann Cup waiting for the winner anyway. OLA Senior A lacrosse still held the rights to play for the Mann Cup. The Hastings Legionnaires represented the area in Senior A.
In 1969, the amazing Lakers scoring duo of Cy Coombes and John Davis continued to set standards never before seen in box lacrosse. With six games remaining in the season, John Davis surpassed the 200-point plateau. Two games later Cy Coombes passed the 100-goal mark. Davis ended up with 226 points in 34 games and Coombes potted 113 goals in 36 games.
Lakers won the Canadian Professional Lacrosse Championship Series in 1969. The New Westminster Salmonbellies came east to play in the Peterborough Memorial Centre. A bench-clearing brawl in one game saw Lakers penalty-minute leader Tim O’Grady walk around the melee looking for opposition-players’ sticks. When he found one, he’d pick it up by the handle and break it at the throat by stepping on it.
It was a decade that started out badly for lacrosse in the area, but ended on a high note with the pro championship.
1950 - 1959
Lacrosse finally came of age in Peterborough in 1951 when the team won the city's first Mann Cup. A well-respected coach, Don Crowe directed the Peterborough Timbermen in an eight-team league. Each team played 28 games. A season ticket in the Miller Bowl cost $10.
The previous year, 22-year-old Arnie Dugan (pictured below in 1947) had won the scoring title with 124 points. The Timbermen picked up the 1950 Mann Cup MVP Lloyd "Moon" Wooten, Russ Slater and feisty Jack "Curly" Mason from the defunct Owen Sound Crescents. They also added Ike Hilderbrand, Ross Powless, Harry Wipperand Nip O'Hearn. The top three scorers for the team were Wipper, Hildebrand and Dugan. Other team members included Dootch Vitarelli, Kenny Peterson, Merv McKenzie, Bob Thorpe, Jerry Fitzgerald, Don Ashbee, Don O'Hearn, Don Crowe, Emmett Creighton, Joe Whitnell, Mick Magee and Dutch Pammett.
The Mann Cup was held in British Columbia and a city fund-raising effort was mounted to help the team pay expenses.
Moon Wooten was spectacular in net for the Timbermen. One shot penetrated his wire mask, but fears of an eye injury were unfounded. The Mike Kelly MVP award was his for a second year in a row. The Mann Cup belonged to Peterborough for the first time in the city's history. It was the first of four Mann Cups in a row!
In 1953, the renamed Trailermen again led the league with Ross Powless, Slater and Hildebrand leading the way.
The run stopped at four Mann Cups in 1954 (video of game). Fourteen members of those teams have been inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame: Arnie Dugan, Don Ashbee, Bob Allan, Jack "Curly" Mason, Ike Hildebrand, Lloyd "Moon" Wooten, Bob Thorpe, Lou Nickle, Ross Powless, Harry Wipper, Jerry Fitzgerald, Russ Slater, Roger Smith and junior call-up Paul Parnell.
Peterborough made it to the Mann Cup in the succeeding three years, but did not take home the prize. In fact, because of a controversy involving eligibility, all of the 1957 players (pictured below) were suspended by the CLA.
The 1958 team consisted of mostly juniors and was called the Petes. The team made it to the playoffs, but not the Mann Cup. The 1959 team, called the Mercurys, was swept in the Mann Cup.
1932 - 1949
The first demonstration box lacrosse game was played in May of 1932 in the Brock Street Arena. Leagues began in the same year.
The first Peterborough box lacrosse championship was in 1938. Lacrosse essentially ended until after World War II.
In 1945, talk of building the Peterborough Memorial Centre began, but was not acted upon for another 11 years.
1947 Senior B Champions (before Peterborough had a Senior A team)
The George St. Bowl (fans seen in 1937 photo supplied by Bill Killingbeck), having been left in a state of disrepair, was finally replaced by the Miller Bowl in 1947.
In 1948, the first ever summer lacrosse school began under the direction of Jack Foote.
Peterborough entered the seven-team OLA Senior A division in 1949 under the name Peterborough Lumberjacks. Doug Miller was manager and guided the team to the playoffs. Leo Teatro was the team's top scorer.
PRIOR TO 1932
According to A Concise History of Sport in Canada there were forty variations of lacrosse. The game varied as to the use made of it by the first nation and the memories of the elders teaching the game to the young. Names like baggataway and tewaarathon were used to describe the game in the earliest written records. The games melded over time, particularly during inter-tribal competitions. As non-natives also became more aware of it, the word lacrosse was more often used to describe the game.
Up until 1867, lacrosse had no written rules. Dr. George Beers was the first to codify the sport.
Lacrosse balls were made of hair-stuffed deerskin or knotted leather strips. The first lacrosse sticks were essentially giant wooden spoons with no netting. A more advanced type had one end bent into a 13 cm diameter circle which was filled with netting. Lacrosse sticks often had elaborate carvings on them intended to help players in the game. Sticks were so treasured that many players requested to be buried with their stick beside them.
Lacrosse arrived in Peterborough in 1872. The first two teams were the Red Stockings and the Blue Rosettes. Goals in those days were two, six-foot stakes driven into the ground six feet apart (photo above from 1880s).
Lacrosse was a medal sport in the 1904 Olympics held in St. Louis, Missouri.