2018 will be the 42th year that Calgary is hosting the Canada Day tournament making it the longest running box lacrosse tournament in the world – but it’s history did not start then. On July 1st, 1867, high tribute was paid to the game of Lacrosse in the Canadian parliament. Lacrosse has been played in Alberta since 1879 and it’s been said that the first Canada Day game was played at Fort Calgary on July 1st, 1884 between the North West Mounted Police (now the RCMP) and a local citizen’s team. The year 1884 marked the Incorporation of both the City of Calgary (November 7th) and the Calgary Lacrosse Association (June 18th). Hard to believe but Calgary Lacrosse has been in official existence for 128 years come June 18th of this year.
The tournament has played a significant role in the development of lacrosse throughout the world and the names of players that have played on our concrete floors holds true to that claim:
– in 1981, the manager of the Victoria Seaspray Bantam B team – Fred Gait – brought a team and his two sons to our city – Paul and Gary Gait who are widely regarded as being the best lacrosse players in the world and had outstanding playing careers.
– that same year, Jack Crosby, coached a team from Burnaby in our tournament. Jack went on to coach 3 Minto Cup Championship teams throughout his career.
– Kaleb Toth, Geoff Snider, Steve Govett, Colin Patterson,Glen Tackaberry, Brad Banister and so many more have had a role in shaping the significant of lacrosse today.
Teams have attended from as far away as Australia, Czech Republic and now we are beginning to see our American neighbours make the journey north – and their numbers are growing. These are typically field clubs who love the game of Canadian box lacrosse.
Fast forward to today and I am seeing past participants fulfilling their life long goal – to bring their son’s/daughter’s team to this tournament so that they too can experience the excitement of being in Calgary,playing teams from across the country and making life long friends and memories.