Skip to content

Hall of fame celebration for Ladner lacrosse legend

Longtime local resident Ron Phillips was GM and coach of the 1971 Minto Cup champions Richmond Roadrunners that were inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night
It's been a special week for Ladner resident Ron Phillips as his 1971 Minto Cup national champion Richmond Roadrunners was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. The 89-year-old was the team's GM and coach. Mark Booth Photo

It’s another big lacrosse celebration for a longtime Ladner family that has given so much back to the sport for decades.

Official ceremonies took place this week for the 2023 B.C. Sports Hall of Fame induction class, including the 1971 Minto Cup national junior champion Richmond Roadrunners. The GM and coach of that team was Ron Phillips.

The longtime local resident led the Roadrunners on one of the most memorable runs in the history of the B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League (BCJALL).

After the franchise had re-located from Vancouver to Minoru Arena that year, the Roadrunners stumbled out of the gate with an 0-5 record. That’s when the players began to buy into Phillips’ brand of lacrosse, playing feisty defence and relying on quick offensive breakouts.

The team featured plenty of future Western Lacrosse Association stars including Dave and Brian Tasker, along with Dave Durant.

Richmond would win 14 of its next 19 games to finish second in the regular season behind powerhouse Burnaby Cablevision.

The Roadrunners took out New West in the semi-finals, setting the stage for a showdown with Burnaby in the championship series that eventually shifted to Queen’s Park Arena to accommodate crowds of more than 4,000. The memorable match-up went the distance with Richmond prevailing in game seven to earn the right to represent B.C. at home against Ontario champion Peterbrough in the Minto Cup.

Phillips was able to add players to his line-up for nationals, including standout Burnaby goaltender Ted Gernaey and Salmonbellies star Walt Weaver.

The additional weapons were needed as the Roadrunners prevailed in an epic series, highlighted by a 13-11 game seven victory in front of 5,000 fans crammed into Queen’s Park Arena.

It was Phillips’ second Minto Cup, having been a member of the 1954 champion PNE Junior Indians as a player.

Now, 89, he got a chance to catch up with some of his former players and staff at the hall of fame plaque unveiling ceremony on Wednesday and the gala banquet on Thursday night at the Fairmont Hotel.

His family was also in attendance including his son Darcy, longtime president of Delta Minor Lacrosse and then the Delta Junior “A” Islanders. The latter tenure was highlighted by a run to the franchise’s first BCJALL title in 2016. Among the key players on that team was Ron’s grandson and Darcy’s son Jon Phillips, now a member of the National Lacrosse League’s Las Vegas Desert Dogs and the WLA’s Nanaimo Timbermen.