Lacrosse has long been Delta's sport of choice. My interest stems from watching my father's brothers, Walter and Robert, and future inlaws, the Tambolines, play a very physical game at Memorial Park. Several cousins also had lengthy careers with the New Westminster Salmonbellies, a team of many Canadian championships.
In the 1940s a highlight of weekend activity was watching entertaining lacrosse games as one of hundreds of local spectators. Not only was there a high skill level, there was always the spectre of a physical donnybrook.
Organized lacrosse has roots in Delta as early as 1906 with teams from Ladner, Crescent Island, Chewassen and Westham Island. William Tamboline and his six brothers were all involved. It seems the larger families of that era produced robust young men from fishing and farming stock to form the nucleus of competitive teams.
Lloyd Tamboline, the youngest son of William, was elected to the inaugural class of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 for his lacrosse prowess. Now nearing a youthful 90, Lloyd was at the top of his game in the 1940s and 1950s.
An elite scorer in the local senior "B" league, he was elevated to a senior "A" team, the 1950 B.C. champion New Westminster Adanacs. They competed for the Mann Cup, losing in seven games to St. Catherines, with all games played in Ontario.
While playing in Delta with brothers Ernie and Albert, he was very complimentary about the play of Robert Husband, an outstanding player with a "physical side" that provided him some protection because of Lloyd's slighter build. Lloyd acknowledged his parents' interest in lacrosse: his father coached the Westham Island Maple Leafs and his mother Margaret designed and sewed the team name and logo on their jerseys.
Besides the Tambolines and Husbands, Lloyd acknowledged many old-timers, including William Trainor and George London of the 1913-14 Westham Island Maple Leafs, and the Bowlings, Savages and Trims. From the early local teams, the East Delta Shamrocks, Ladner Beavers and Westham Island Maple Leafs, Delta entered a new "modern" league in 1936 at a meeting hosted by Reeve Paterson at municipal hall.
Paterson was elected honourary president, with Roy York as president. The original minute book has been meticulously kept by Walter Husband, a noted mask-less goaltender of years past. Provincial league rules were adopted and four teams were entered for a fee of one dollar from Ladner, Crescent Island, Chewassen and Westham Island. And, yes, Tsawwassen was spelled differently in those days.
The lacrosse box in Memorial Park was built with a provincial grant following the 1936 meeting. Twenty years later local interest waned until 1971 when Delta Minor Lacrosse was re-organized with Walter Husband as vice president and a ladies auxiliary organized in 1972-73.
Lloyd Tamboline has a significant birthday party coming soon. Did you know "Adanac" is Canada spelled backwards?
And a good night to you, Uncle Walter and Happy Birthday Lloyd.
A fourth generation Ladnerite, Doug Husband is a former mayor of Delta and a practicing mediator of civil litigation disputes.