Manitoba History: One Town's Team, Souris and Its Lacross Club, 1887-1906
by Morris Mott
All students of Western Canadian history are familiar with the process by which a large group of British-Protestant immigrants, primarily from Ontario, moved into Manitoba in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, especially between 1875 and 1890, and firmly established their institutions, values and ways of life as the dominant ones in the Province.  What is not as well known, and much less well documented, is that these people brought with them a remarkably rich and diverse sporting heritage, one that was probably as dynamic and vital as any in the history of man. They were familiar with a wide range of games whose outcomes were determined primarily by chance, as were the “dice” games, or by strategy, as were checkers and chess, and with a vast number of contests or games decided essentially by physical attributes of human or nonhuman competitors.  In Manitoba they transplanted almost all of their familiar competitive recreations,  and of these the most popular, in terms of spectator appeal, was lacrosse.
As played by Manitobans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, lacrosse was not the six-man “box” form of the game that is now played in summer in indoor arenas and which dates from the 1930s, but the twelve man “field” game that had recently evolved in Quebec and Ontario and which was essentially played according to rules laid down by Dr. George Beers, a Montreal dentist, in 1867.  The Province’s first lacrosse club was formed in 1871, and it seems safe to say that for about thirty years after 1876 no sport could match it in consistently arousing keen spectator interest.  In Winnipeg for example, in the late 1880s certain games between the Winnipeg Club and the Ninetieth Club were expected to be so exciting that it was evidently not unknown for a Mayor to declare a civic half holiday so that no one need miss them, and as far as is known the largest crowd to attend any sporting event in the City’s history prior to 1914 was the one, estimated at between eight and ten thousand people, that gathered in July of 1892 to witness a lacrosse game at the Exhibition Grounds.  In rural centers crowds were not usually as large as in the city, but over the years teams were enthusiastically followed in such places as Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Rapid City, Roland, Holland, Manitou and Melita. The one rural community that seemed to show a particularly passionate interest in the game was Souris.
The modern history of the Souris district may be said to have begun in the early 1880s, when people from England and Ontario migrated to the area to settle on land that was available through the Millbrook Colonization Company headed by “Squire” W. H. Sowden and his partner Mr. J. N. Kirchhoffer, who would later become an M.L.A. for Brandon West and then a Senator.  In the town of Souris, or Plum Creek as it was called in the early days, the first lacrosse club was evidently formed in 1884. By 1887 it was recognized, for a short time at least, as the championship club of the Province, and from then until 1906, with the exception of about four years in the mid 1890s, it was the leading and most fervently supported sports club in the community.  After 1906 the popularity of the sport declined as we shall see, but during most of the twenty summers from 1887 to 1906 the lacrosse team’s games were notable occasions. Dozens of people used to climb into horse-drawn “rigs” and drive with the team to nearby towns such as Hartney; hundreds of them took advantage of excursion rates that the C.P.R. offered for those who wanted to attend matches in Brandon or Winnipeg: as many as two thousand might attend games at home.  Excitement was particularly intense during the years from 1902 through 1905, and by the latter year, which proved to be the one in which interest in the sport was at its apex, the Souris Plaindealer could say that, compared to “our little town”, there was “probably no other place in the broad Dominion of Canada where such enthusiasm prevails for the national ... game.”  There is good cause to think that the local newspaper was not exaggerating.
The reason why the people of Souris so zealously sup-ported their lacrosse club seems, at first glance, to be rather obvious: they had a winner. The Club was originally formed by individuals who had achieved something of a reputation for their play in Ontario,  and the players it put on the field were almost always twelve of the best athletes, if not the twelve best athletes in the district.  They often trained, during the season, two or three nights out of every week.  They went into their games with victory in mind; they usually achieved it,  and this clearly accounts for a good deal of their support, because the spectators always turned out in larger numbers during winning seasons than losing ones. However, one wonders why even a successful team would have such a devoted following. What was the connection between the team and the spectators? What made victories so meaningful, not only to the twelve individuals on the field wearing the blue and white Souris uniforms, but to the whole community? By what reasoning did the people of Souris come to the conclusion that members of championship teams had upheld the “honour” of everyone in the district.  On the other hand, how could the supporters have felt betrayed by the team after certain losses, and imply that the very “credit (of) the town” had been undermined by them.  Furthermore, how did their anxiety about the outcomes of games relate to their obvious concern with how they were played? For the people of Souris, winning was a very, very important thing, but was not quite the only thing. After all, if victory had been all that mattered, they would not have criticized their players for their “rough play” during a 9-3 win in an exhibition game in 1903; they would have been overjoyed instead of “badly disappointed” when they saw their team whip Brandon 12-0 in another game that season; and they would not have felt so obligated to point out their 1887 championship team’s ability to play “scientific lacrosse, thus defending it from the insinuation, made especially by Winnipeg journalists, that it was composed of “hardy sons of toil” who had won simply by out-muscling their opponents.  Similarly, if all losses had seemed humiliating, then each one of them would have evoked the kind of anger and disgust with the players that a 7-4 defeat at the hands of Boissevain did in 1901.  However, such was not the case. This particular setback had obviously resulted from a lack of practice, but the Club’s supporters expressed pride in the players after “honourable” defeats, ones in which the team had played well but had been beaten by one that played better.  What the Souris fans had at stake in the games was something that could be claimed especially when, but not only and not necessarily when, their team won.
The key to understanding the behaviour of the Souris spectators is an awareness that the game of lacrosse was an example of what used to be referred to as the “manly” sports. Manly sports were those that seemed to test, and therefore inculcate, that quality of character that the British-Protestant pioneers of Manitoba, as well as people all over the English-speaking world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, called ‘manliness’, and manliness was simply the ultimate masculine quality, the attribute of the ideal male. It included a large number of desirable physical, mental and moral qualities blended together in just the right way.  There is no need to mention all of the manly sports here. Suffice it to say that the most highly regarded of them. and the ones that most consistently attracted spectator interest, were the great team games that were played with a ball or ball-type object, the main examples being cricket, baseball, football in both its “soccer” and “rugby” forms, hockey, curling and lacrosse. Along with a large number of individual games or contests, including the many that we commonly call the track and field events, these team games were viewed as conducive to such components of manliness as physical courage, strength, stamina, willpower, self-control, and even a certain degree of moral purity, since they provided an outlet for energies that might otherwise be dissipated through “grosser” and more “defiling pleasures” such as drinking or what was called the “solitary vice.”  Team games received added praise because. compared to individual competitions, they were more complex, with relatively elaborate rule structures, and they required groups of players to work towards a common goal: therefore they seemed capable of instilling further manly qualities. such as “promptness of decision,” ability to cooperate with others, and a sense of duty and loyalty both to one’s side and to cultural mores as laid down in rules or laws.  The reason they were so appealing as spectator sports was closely related to the fact that they did provide a trial of such a wide range of manly attributes, and the ones they particularly tested allowed even those who were only watching to feel that they were truly involved. The outcomes of team games were often determined by player traits that seemed not so much instinctual as learnedsuch things as self-discipline, loyalty, willingness to accept and perform a role on a team, and especially ability to play “scientifically”, using not only brawn but brains, in a way that revealed, as the Souris Methodist Rev. F. A. August put it, that the body was not “the master” but “the servant” of man’s “higher nature”.  When present, these and other qualities were ones that could be said to have been culturally developed, products of the social and moral environment, not essentially God-given but acquired, especially when encouraged and praised by friends and acquaintances. 
Of course, lacrosse and other team games also called for properties, such as speed, strength or coordination, that could be said to be genetically handed down. However, games that were determined by these qualities were precisely those, like the 12-0 contest mentioned earlier, for which spectators could work up very little enthusiasm, even if their side were winning. Ordinarily efforts were made to make sure that matches like these did not occur; thus in lacrosse and in the other team games there were usually recognized “levels” of competition, such as “intermediate” and “senior”. There was an awareness, in short, that spectators were not likely to be interested in games in which one side was clearly over-matched physically and the communally-acquired qualities of the players would not be brought into play. Fans were drawn to matches between relatively equal teams, where those traits that could be said to have been bestowed upon the players by their social surroundings were on the line. In these games, in a very real sense, the spectators themselves were the competitors, for the degree to which they were committed to certain manly qualities highly valued by all members of their culture was being reflected in the way in which their representatives performed.
The desirable, socially-acquired manly properties might be ascribed to players on a team that lost a game, as they were to the Souris athletes in the “honourable” defeats previously noted. However, they were more likely to be attributed to players on a team that won. In fact, unless a match had been marred by very poor officiating or extremely bad playing conditions, it seemed fair to say that the winners of a manly game were more manly than the losers. Thus when, as was almost always the case, there was sufficient evidence to claim that a team had achieved a victory through superior “pluck”, discipline, or team spirit, or even because its players had that slight edge in speed or strength or skill that resulted not so much from native ability as from more diligent training, then it was a tremendous source of pride for every-one in the community because there was reason to think that they had all contributed to its success by encouraging the qualities that had decided the outcome.
With regard to lacrosse in Souris, all of this can best be seen by looking closely at the years 1902 through 1905, when Souris had its best teams and interest in the game was greatest. By 1902, because so many of the team’s triumphs in past years had seemed to result from a superior demonstration of the socially-acquired qualities, and since even its losses had not usually reflected too badly upon the community because the players had acted like “gentlemen” and had displayed a reasonable degree of manliness, the people of Souris knew that their town had “no greater advertising medium” than its lacrosse club.  It was regarded as such a community asset that, beginning in that year, the players were spared the usual levy of a membership fee, and it seems that for the next few years the Club’s expenses were met totally through funds provided by gate receipts and donations from the local citizenry, especially from the businessmen.  These people certainly must have felt that the contributions were worthwhile, because over the next few years their lacrosse team was one that every community in the Province would have loved to have had, one that through its victories and style of play was “favourably advertising the town all over Western Canada.”  Consider its record, and the way in which it was achieved.
In 1902 it won the intermediate championship of the Western Canada Lacrosse Association.  The key game was the one in which Souris beat the Winnipeg Mintos in Winnipeg, in what even city people agreed was “one of the cleanest and most gentlemanly games” ever seen there.  Then, in an ensuing match played in Souris against the Winnipeg Sham-rocks, the senior champions of the Association, the rural team’s summer-long dedication to training paid off, as conditioning appeared to be a factor in its 3-1 win.  With this victory the Club, composed of players who were out “to win every time” but who always showed that they were a “gentlemanly lot,”  could reasonably claim that it was the best in the Province. It had certainly shown that it was good enough for senior competition, and in 1903 it entered the senior series, playing in one of two three-team divisions.  It won its section with a victory over Roland in a special playoff necessitated by the two clubs’ identical league records, a game in which “the form” of the boys in blue was “par excellence.”  Unfortunately, Souris lost the championship match to the Winnipeg Shamrocks, the winner of the other division. It had been a “great game”, however, one in which there had been “no room to find fault with any of our players,” as they had given “the best that was in them;” furthermore, all through the summer the city club had been bringing in “the very best men” from the East that it could, so that it was possible to say that a proper test of strength between Winnipeg and Souris had not taken place, for unlike Souris, Winnipeg had refused to use primarily “home raised” players. 
In the next season, that of 1904. Souris won the senior championship.  There was only one senior division that year, and one of the clubs, the Winnipeg Mintos, was clearly the worst of the four teams. Souris beat them 10-2 and 11-1, the latter game especially being “too one-sided to be interesting,” since “before the impetuous rushes of the boys from old Plum Creek the Mintos went down like wheat before the reaper.  Games against the other two teams, the Winnipeg Lacrosse Club and the Winnipeg Shamrocks, were much more satisfactory. There was, for example, the game played in Souris on July 23 in which the home club beat the Winnipegs 8-2, one of the “fastest and most brilliant games every played here” despite the score, and in which every Souris man “did his duty.”  There was especially the game in Souris on August 19, with the Shamrocks as the opposition and the champion-ship at stake, a great game that ended in a 2-2 tie and with Souris on top of the league. Admittedly, the latter match had been harmed somewhat by “considerable roughness on both sides,” but this had not been the Souris players’ fault; it had been instigated by the Shamrocks, and allowed to get out of hand by a referee who was not “up to his job” and seemed incapable of seeing ... serious ... offences ... unless a player was stretched on the sward.”  Now, for the first time since 1887, there was no doubt that Souris had the provincial championship team. They did so again in 1905. It may be, in fact, that no team in any manly sport has ever fostered so much legitimate community pride as did the Souris Lacrosse Club in this latter year.
The season of 1905 began much like any other. In early April the Club held its annual meeting and elected the officers, among whom were many of the town’s leading businessmen and citizens.  Later that month the Club’s delegates attended the annual meeting of the Western Canada Lacrosse Association, and entered teams in both one of the districts of the intermediate series, and in the senior series, which this year had, besides Souris, two clubs from Winnipeg and one from Brandon.  It was the home-and-home series of senior games, of course, in which people were most interestedthe intermediate team was considered to be something of a “farm” teamand there was a good deal of confidence that the senior squad would successfully defend its championship. A set-back took place in the second league game when it was defeated 5-3 by the Winnipeg Lacrosse Club in the city, but all the Souris players were confident that they could win the return match later in the season. When the city club was unexpectedly defeated by Brandon about a week later, everyone knew that a victory in the home game against the Winnipegs would give Souris the championship. 
That game was played on Monday August 21, at the Exhibition Grounds in Souris. This was a civic holiday in Winnipeg, so an excursion train with three to four hundred Winnipeg supporters came out to the match, and these people joined a few dozen others from neighbouring towns and close to two thousand people from Souris and district storekeepers and mechanics closed their shops, farmers for “miles around forsook their binders” and headed for a game that fulfilled everyone’s expectations. It was “one of the greatest ... ever played in Western Canada,” fast and clean and well refereed, with lots of the “brainy” team play that the Plaindealer had once referred to as “the most commendable feature of sport on ice or turf.”  Within forty-five seconds of the opening face-off Souris had taken a 1-0 lead, but for some reason, perhaps “over training” or maybe even a “lack of it, the home team couldn’t match the pace of the Winnipegs during the rest of the first quarter and all of the second. Souris was behind 3-1 at the half, and had it not been for the determination of the players on its “stone wall” defense, who had been the backbone of the team in so many previous games, the score might have been worse. The third quarter opened just as the first had, with Souris scoring a quick goal, but for almost the next 35 minutes the score stood at 3-2 with the visiting club having perhaps the better of the play. But with about nine minutes left in the match the Souris players began to display the “plucky” spirit for which they had become so famous. They threw everything into their attacks. For the next six minutes they made rush after “desperate” rush, but were turned away by the “heroic defense” of the city boys. Then, with three minutes left in the game, one of the Souris playersno one will ever know who because the Plaindealer’s correspondent said that he had become so worked up “at this point” that when he looked over his shorthand notes after the game they were “absolutely unreadable”grabbed a loose ball near the Winnipeg goal, moved it to Dick Hetherington and his shot tied the game. The Souris spectators cheered themselves “hoarse”; in fact, some of them could hardly have sat down when, within seconds after the face-off that followed this tally, the ball was back down in the Winnipeg’s end. A tremendous scrimmage ensued; the next thing the spectators knew the Winnipeg’s goalkeeper, point player and the ball were all in the net, and the umpire’s hand was in the air signalling the fourth Souris goal. “Bedlam broke loose”; everyone “went wild”, and the cheering never stopped until the game ended with no more scoring. Then the victorious Souris boys were “carried off shoulder high to the dressing room. 
As it turned out, this remarkable game did not decide the championship, as all those present had assumed. Shortly after it. the Winnipeg Club protested to the league officials that their earlier loss to Brandon should not count in the standings, as it had been discovered that Brandon had used an ineligible player. The protest was upheld and after a couple of weeks controversy it was decided that, since the Winnipegs and Souris had identical records, each team having lost one game to the other, a playoff game should be held on September 20 in Treherne.  Over the years the people of Souris, as well as of other towns around the Province, had gained the impression that what city teams couldn’t win on the field they would try to win by raising technicalities in committee-rooms; perhaps there was something about life in the city that caused people from there to resort to “unmanly” machinations. Luckily, the Souris Club had a very good trainer, a man named Harry Sullivan, who whipped the boys into the peak of condition, so that when the game took place on a day so windy that staying-power determined the outcome, the somewhat effete city boys didn’t have a chance, and Souris won rather handily 5-2. When the players returned home they received a “warm reception” as the people of the community honoured players who had obviously learned from them that success in manly endeavours went, not to those with influence, but to those best trained and prepared. 
Between 1902 and 1905 lacrosse was by far the most popular spectator sport in Souris, but by 1907 baseball had assumed that position, and from 1909 until the beginning of the Great War lacrosse was even rivalled by (soccer) football as the town’s second sport.  There were several reasons for its diminished popularity in Souris; they were not unrelated to the general decline of the game that took place all over the Province, especially in the rural communities, during the same period, although a full explanation of these developments and those that followed the War cannot be given here. One reason for an immediate waning of popularity after 1905 seems to have been negative reaction to excessively violent play. Lacrosse, of course, called for a good deal of vigor and aggressiveness, and some critics had always regarded it as more of a test of barbarity than manliness; the American commentator Peter Dunne had evidently seen a couple of exhibitions and, through his character Mr. Dooley, said that this sport required such belligerence that it was obviously well suited for a particular form of international competition England versus Ireland.  It seems that in 1905, and especially in 1906, several matches were played either by the Souris Club or in the town of Souris, in which the competitors’ lack of self-discipline and their attempts to injure their opponents offended several people who had traditionally supported the game. 
Yet violence was only a temporary problem; in games that were played between 1907 and 1914 it was seldom, if ever, a serious issue. More damaging in the long run was controversy over professionalism. This really emerged out of the Club’s challenge for the Minto Cup in 1906. The Minto Cup was the symbol of Canadian and world lacrosse supremacy, and from the outset of the season of 1905 the Souris Club had indicated that, if they repeated as Western Canada Lacrosse Association Champions in that year, they would make an attempt to take it from its Eastern holder. As has been seen Souris won their league, and by the next spring arrangements had been made to go to Montreal and play a “best of three games” series against the Shamrocks of that city in early July.  The only disconcerting aspect of the trip was that the Canadian Amateur Athletic Union, an organization whose roots went back to 1883-1884 and which, since the mid 1890s, had been attempting to get many different sports organizations from across the country to adhere to its definition of amateurism, had declared that all the Montreal Shamrock players were “professionals.”  Since, according to the C.A.A.U.’s regulations, anyone who competed “with or against a professional for any prize” automatically became a professional himself, the players on the Souris team would be professionals as soon as they faced-off against the Shamrocks; this fact was confirmed by the C.A.A.U. just two weeks before the Minto Cup games were to take place.  However, the officers of the club decided to go ahead with the challenge. In part they did so because they believed that the C.A.A.U., was an organization dominated by old fogies from the East and that its rulings would likely be treated as a “dead letter” in the West. Another factor in their decision was the perfectly understandable desire to win the national championship, and that seemed to be a possibility. Probably the most important reason was that it had already been arranged that the Club and its supporters would stop in Millbrook, Ontario on the return trip to Manitoba, and that an exhibition game would be played there, in the heart of the region from which so many of the early Souris settlers had come; several people had been planning for weeks and even months to go “home and to have called the trip off would have been especially disappointing to them.  The result was that Souris did play the Shamrocks and all of the players were declared to be “professionals”. Most Manitobans regarded this ruling of the CAAU., along with its definition of amateurism, as absurd.  Still, the C.A.A.U. had so much influence with so many sporting organizations that athletes who were competitors in other sports besides lacrosse had to make sure they did not become “professionalized” themselves. Of course this meant that no clubs wanted to play against Souris; in fact Souris’ membership in the Western Canada Lacrosse Association was suspended, and the team played no more games that year.  Furthermore. because controversy over professionalism was a major problem in nearly every Canadian sport right through to World War One and even after it, lacrosse teams from other communities such as Elgin or Brandon often showed reluctance to play against Souris over the years, for fear that one Souris player or another was an unreinstated pro. 
The final reason for the waning popularity of lacrosse after 1906 was probably of more importance than all the others, and it was closely related to the main cause of its tremendous appeal in earlier years. This was the fact that, from about 1907 through 1910 Souris didn’t have a very good team, and local clubs in other sports took over the lacrosse club’s old role. As it turned out the 1905 team was probably the best that Souris ever had. Before the 1906 season two key players from that team moved from the community. E. Weber, goalkeeper and Ed. Hull who in his prime must surely have been one of the finest defensive players in all of Canada, had both been stalwarts of the Club for many years through 1905, but by the next year Weber was in Rosenfeld buying wheat and Hull was the druggist in Stoughton, Saskatchewan.  These players were replaced of course. In 1906 there were more “imports” than usual, people who were evidently not paid professionals but who were found “situations”, as it used to be said.  On paper it was as strong as the team of 1905, but even before it went East that summer there was reason to think that on the field there was something lacking.  It showed in Montreal. In the first game for the Minto Cup, Souris was completely overwhelmed and overmatched by the Shamrocks. The final score was 10-2, and the executive of the western club, making a move that was later criticized by several of the players, decided that to play more games would be useless, and they succeeded in having them called off.  Since, as we have already seen, the Club played no further matches once it returned home that summer, there was no need for imported players, and by the next year lacrosse was being played strictly by local players against teams from nearby towns.
However, the caliber of play was not up to that of the few previous years,  and victories occurred less frequently. The result was that very quickly the people of Souris became attached to local baseball and football clubs. Although there was a temporary revival of interest in lacrosse just prior to the War, and some good, exciting games were played, especially in 1911 and 1913,  by this time the baseball and football teams were at least as highly valued as the lacrosse one. And this is not at all surprising, because the clubs in these two sports had become just as capable of reflecting credit on the town as the lacrosse club had been. A baseball team that practiced every night and therefore showed “snappy” fielding and “scientific” batting, a football team that won most of its games by displaying speed and clever movement of the ballthese were obviously community assets.  It seems safe to say that the main reason for the decline in lacrosse’s popularity prior to the War, and for its complete demise by the early twenties,  was because by then it was assumed that through other sports the young men of the town were able to do what they had previously done through lacrossedemonstrate to people around the district and the Province many of the qualities that the people of Souris believed to be best about themselves and their community.
The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance he received in preparing this paper from Mrs. Alice E. Brown, Mr. Harry Brindle, and Mr. Vic Anderson.
1. On this theme see W. L. Morton Manitoba, A History, 2nd ed., Toronto. University of Toronto Press, 1967, chapters 8, 9 and 10 and especially pp. 187-190, 223-233, 241-250; J. E. Rea, “The Roots of Prairie Society” in David P. Cagan (editor) Prairie Perspectives, Montreal and Toronto, Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada Ltd., 1970, especially pp. 46-50.
2. Some idea of the many games and contests with which these British-Protestants could have been expected to be familiar can be gained from reading Robert W. Malcolmson Popular Recreations in English Society, 1700-1850 London, Cambridge University Press. 1973, especially chapter 3: Peter Bailey, Leisure and Class in Victorian England. Rational Recreation and the Contest for Control, 1830-1885. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1978, especially chapter 1. Edwin C. Guillet, Early Life in Upper Canada, Toronto. The Ontario Publishing Co. Ltd.. 1933, especially chapters 8-11; Nancy Howell and Maxwell L. Howell, Sports and Games in Canadian Life, 1700 to the Present Toronto. Macmillan of Canada Ltd., 1969, parts 1 and 2; and especially that remarkable book by Joseph Strutt, The Sport and Pastimes of the People of England from the Earliest Period, etc, New York. Augustus M. Kelley, 1970, first published in 1801. The classification of games through identification of chance, strategy or a physical attribute as the essential determinant of the outcome is one used most extensively by I. M Roberts M. S. Arth. R. Bush B. Sutton-Smith, et al., especially in “Games in Culture” American Anthropologist LXI. 1959 pp. 597-598.
3. It would seem that the only traditional forms of competitive recreations that were not successfully transferred to Manitoba were the animal “blood sports.” These were becoming more and more rare, both in Britain and in Eastern North America by the mid nineteenth century In Manitoba an occasional cock fight or dog-fight was organized in the early years, as is indicated in the Manitoba Free Press, April 18. 1877. p. 3 and Feb. 8. 1881. p. 1, but these “sports” achieved no permanent foothold.
4. Alexander M. Weyand and Milton R. Roberts, The Lacrosse Story Baltimore, H. and A. Herman, 1965, chapter 2: Thomas George Vellathottam, “A History of Lacrosse in Canada Prior to 1914”. unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Alberta, 1968, chapters 3-5.
5. Alexander Begg and W. R. Nursey - Ten Years in Winnipeg: A Narration of the Principal Events in the History of the City of Winnipeg from the year A.D. 1870 to the Year 1879. Winnipeg, Begg and Nursey. 1879, p. 41. The impression that lacrosse was the leading spectator sport from 1876 until the first decade of the twentieth century is one gained from a reading of virtually every issue of the Manitoba Free Press during this period, as well as of most issues of about ten weekly newspapers published in rural Manitoba in the same years.
6. Manitoba Free Press, hereafter referred to as M.F.P.: April 4. 1914. p 6: July 16 I920, p. 2 of sports section; Winnipeg Tribune, July 29, 1892, p. 8. The Exhibition Grounds were the site of Winnipeg’s annual Industrial Exhibition first held in 1891, and according to information supplied by Mr. R. R. Rostecki, this property now forms part of Charlie Krupp Memorial Stadium.
8. Brandon Sun July 3, 1884. p. 1; M.F.P.- July 16, 1887, p. Aug. 1, 1887, p.4. The impression that lacrosse was, over the years, the most popular spectator sport in Souris has been gained from a thorough reading of the M.F.P. 1884-1906, and the Pdr, 1892-1906. and from less thorough research in the Brandon Sun, Brandon Times and Brandon Mail, 1882-1906. The years in which lacrosse was not the leading game were 1892 and 1895-1897.
20. On manliness see David Newsome, Godliness and Good Learning, Four Studies on a Victorian Ideal, London, John Murray, 1961, Chapters 1 and 4; Norman Vance. “The Ideal of Manliness’ in Brian Simon and Ian Bradley, The Victorian Public School, Studies in the Development of an Educational Institution, Dublin, Gill and Macmillan Ltd.. 1975, pp. 115-117; Bruce E. Haley, “The Cult of Manliness in English Literature: A Victorian Controversy, 1857-1880”, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Illinois, 1965.
21. M.F.P.: Jan. 18, 1873, p. 5; April 14. 1884, p. 4; April 6, 1895, p. 5; July 13. 1901, p. 5; Oct. 25, 1901, p. 5: Pdr.: April 13, 1897, p. 4; Aug. 24, 1921, p. 4; P.A.M., Manitoba College File, “Toba, 03-04,” p. 12. On strenuous exercise and the solitary vice, see Michael Bliss, “‘Pure Books on Avoided Subjects’: Pre-Freudian Sexual Ideas in Canada,” in Michiel Horn and Ronald Sabourin (eds.), Studies in Canadian Social History, Toronto, McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1974, especially p. 330, and Rev. W. J. Hunter, Manhood Wrecked and Rescued, A Series of Chapters to Men on Social Purity and Right Living, Toronto, William Briggs, 1894, especially p. 221.
22. M.F.P.: June 9, 1876, p. 3; July 13, 1901, p. 5; Vox Wesleyania VII, Dec. 1902, pp. 57-58; Manitoba College Journal, IX, Ian. 1894, pp. 63-64; Pdr, Aug. 24, 1921, p. 4. The superiority of team games was especially emphasized by Thomas Hughes in his extremely influential novel, Tom Brown’s Schooldays. See the Penguin Books edition published from Markham, Ontario by Penguin Books Canada, Ltd., 1971, p. 271.
28. The Western Canada Lacrosse Association had been formed in 1896. Most people who were close to the Association regarded it as a “revised” Manitoba Lacrosse Association, which had been the first lacrosse association in the region and had existed from 1888 to about 1892. See M.F.P.: April 20, 1897, p. 5; Feb. 2. 1888, p. 4.
34. Ibid: Aug. 28, 1903, p. 1; Aug. 21, 1903, p. 4; Sept 4, 1903, p. 4. Ten of the twelve players on the team this year had “learned” the game in Souris. That was probably about the usual number of local boys.
38. Ibid., Aug. 26, 1904, p. 1. Although this game had appeared to clinch the championship for Souris, it did not, and more than six weeks full ofarguments between the league executive and various clubs had to take place before Souris was eventually declared the premier team for 1904. See Ibid., issues from Sept. 2Oct 21, 1904.
52. Pdr.: June 29, 1906, p.4; May 18, 1906, p. 1; Tune 15, 1906, p. 1. The exhibition game, and a grand reception for the Souris visitors, was in fact held in Millbrook. See Pdr.: July 13. 1906, p. 1; July 20. 1906, p. 2.Back to top of page