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The History of Lacrosse In Saint John, NB

The following is an excerpt taken from the book "Saint John A Sporting Tradition 1785 - 1985"authored by Brain Flood and published by Neptune Publishing Co. Ltd. "The man responsible for the introduction of lacrosse to Saint John was Adam Bell. In April of 1889, Adam and a number of interested young men got together and formed the Union Lacrosse Club. Shortly thereafter, the Y.M.C.A. and the Beavers also formed a lacrosse club. By the early summer, a number of games were being played between teams from these three clubs. Probably the most exciting event of the year took place in late July, when a grand exhibition was being held in Saint John. For the event, Mr. Bell brought in the famous Chaughnawaga Indian lacrosse Club. Two matches were played between an All-Saint John squad and the Indians. The first game was played on the Barrack Green while the other match took place on the old Shamrock grounds. Surprisingly, the local men did extremely well against their renowned opponents.The Indians captured game one, but were upset in the second contest by a score of 3-2. The year 1890 was an exciting year for local lacrosse. In the spring, a city league was formed, composed of the Y.M.C.A., Beavers, and the Unions. During the course of the season, the Unions emerged as the strongest team, partly due to the fact that the Unions benefited from a number of players who had learned the game while attending college in Ontario. The games attracted the attention of local sporting fans. Besides that, the Upper Canadians began to take an interest in the fact that the boys from down east had started to play the national game. This lead to a trophy being sent down by the Montreal firm of H.A. Nelson & Son. The large silver cup was to be played for by maritime lacrosse teams. The winner was to be declared the Tri-province champion. Six lacrosse teams existed in the Maritimes in the year 1890. In addition to the three Saint John teams, there was one each from Pictou, Springhill, and Halifax.In the fall of that year, the Unions traveled to Moncton to compete for the Nelson Cup and defeated Pictou to capture the trophy. When the Unions returned to Saint John, they were faced with the challenges from both the Y.M.C.A. and the Beavers. A number of superb games were played between the three local squads. However, the Unions retained possession of the cup. The game of lacrosse continued to be played during the early 1890's. During this time period, a number of games were played with Moncton, Truro, and Halifax. Although Saint John fielded first class teams, interest and enthusiasm for the game dwindled. In fact, by 1895 the game had all but disappeared."

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