Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


Video Transcript

[Narrator - Rylan Strachan]

[Painting of early lacrosse players]

The game of lacrosse has evolved from a First Nations ritual activity to the official summer sport of Canada. This crosse represents the lasting importance of lacrosse to the development of the Canadian identity.

[Painting of lacrosse players and early lacrosse team]

Across Canada, lacrosse has been played by Aboriginal peoples under many names and with great variation. Lacrosse was culturally and spiritually integral to the Aboriginal cultures of Ontario and Quebec. Games were played to acknowledge gratitude to the Creator, as a way to settle disputes and train for war.

[Images of lacrosse stick and original lacrosse sticks]

The Aboriginal equipment was simple, a ball and a stick. The Iroquois-style crosse served as the basis for pre-modern designs. It was a single piece of wood with an enclosed droplet shaped head, which replaced the spoon shaped pocket. After lacrosse was embraced by wider society, the white social elite formed clubs in major cities.

[Image of George Beers and of Aboriginal teams]

After Confederation, proud Canadian George Beers saw a need to unite the new country and used lacrosse, a uniquely Canadian sport, as that vehicle. He created the first National Lacrosse Association in 1867. This was the first national body dedicated to the governance of the sport, rule standardization, and management of national championships to promote fellowship throughout the nation.

[Images of lacrosse and Lionel Conacher]

Over time, lacrosse's popularity waned. To reinvigorate the game, box lacrosse brought the game indoors and players such as Lionel Conacher made the game exciting in the 1930's.

Significant design changes occurred from the 1970's to the 1990's. Most significant was the creation of the two piece crosse, which allowed head and shaft design to evolve separately based on team position.

[Image of modern lacrosse team]

Lacrosse is deeply entrenched in Canada's history, tradition, and culture. It was and remains a symbol of Canada's unique national identity and heritage.

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