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History of the Northmen

The game of lacrosse is steeped deeply in the historical past of this community, dating back to the 1860's. The Orangeville Dufferins won the very first Ontario Lacrosse Association championship in 1897, and repeated this feat in 1900 and 1901. In 1908 a member of the Dufferins, Dr. G.H. Campbell was chosen to play on the Canadian Olympic Gold Medal winning team. During this era local businesses would close their doors on the afternoons that the team played, and as many as 3 000 people would attend the field games.

The year 1978 holds a special place in our storied history and signified the first "building blocks" of what today has become a respected and admired lacrosse centre both provincially and nationally. This was the year that the Senior Northmen were founded. They were a success both on the floor and within this sporting community. They won the Canadian Championship (The President's Cup) in 1981, 1982 and 1984, and were Ontario Champions in 1980, 1983 and 1985. The players from the Senior Northmen were the "Lightning Rods" that resurrected the Minor Northmen which today provides a successful development system for more than 500 players. Orangeville's Minor system includes programs in box lacrosse, boys field lacrosse, and boasts the largest women's lacrosse system in the province. These same Senior Northmen players revived tremendous accolades at the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame induction Ceremonies in 1998. The speaker stated that "If an award were to be given to a team, the Northmen should win, not only because they were a great organization, but because more than ninety percent of the members are still actively involved with the game today by coaching or holding executive positions".

They resurrected the Jr. "B" Northmen in 1989. The team consisted of local players who had finished their minor years. Being a first year team, expectations were not that high but with the support of this community, and some tremendous "Northmen" pride they went on to capture the Canadian Jr. "B" championship (Founders Cup). To prove to any detractors that this was not a fairy tale season, they repeated this feat the following year. In 1991 the Orangeville Northmen entered the Junior "A" rank and went on to become the most successful team of the decade. They have won the Canadian Jr "A" Championship (Minto Cup) in 1993, 1995 and 1996. After the loss of 14 veteran players after the 1996 season the Northmen still impressed Ontario lacrosse fans by reaching the semifinals with a rookie-laden team. When you consider that Orangeville is the only small town team in Jr "A" across Canada, holding the highest attendance figures is a significant achievement. The fan support is the fist thing that impresses most visitors to Orangeville.

The Orangeville Northmen are a great source of pride for our community, not only because they are winning teams but the strength of this organization and sense of family it envelopes everyone involved. 

The Daily Standard Saturday August 13, 1898



Athletics 9, Orangeville 3. That is the tune, which the little German band did not play in the corner of the lacrosse grounds, but it was rendered very melodiously, along with a series of realistic moving pictures by the boys in light and dark blue on Friday.

The Orangeville team brought one of the largest lacrosse excursions to "root" for them that has ever visited the city on a like occasion, and were determined to win at all hazards. To make certain that the players would remain in the good condition that the trainer had worked them, they were sent over by train, and upon arriving in the city were sent to bed for a rest.

When the teams lined up on the field the visitors in green showed up to good advantage.

The following were the positions:

goal Baumann
point F. Williams
cover Lobb
defence Norris, Hagan, Pringle
centre Jos. Cameron
attack G. Downey, McIlwain, Elliott
outside Gourlay
inside C. Downey
field captain Jno. Cameron

goal Foncar
point Minary
cover J. Dowling
defence Kearns, Carridge, J.A. Irvine
centre Telford
attack Carmichael, Snell, Hay
outside W. Irvine
inside J. Henry
field captain Dr. Henry

Umpires - W. Yielding, St. Catharines, W. Clark, Orangeville

Referee - J.D. Bailey, Toronto

When the ball was faced it passed along on Athletic sticks until the Dufferins' defence was reached when it was lost, Minary throwing it up the field, when it was promptly returned. Gouray shot and the first goal was won in 2 minutes.

This caused the Orangeville crowd to grow restless and their howls to their men to "wake up" were pitiful to hear.

The next goal was the beginning of one of the most exciting, nerve-killing exhibitions of lacrosse, which makes a man forget all about business troubles and success and causes him to take off his hat and yell; or hold his breath in suspense. In this game there were some hot shots on the visitors goal in 2 ½ minutes. Then the visitors began to sing louder. They offered all kinds and specimens of "Willie Green" and a number of the boys snapped it up in a hurry.

The next goal went to Orangeville in five minutes and a perfect bedlam broke loose in the ranks. The money bluffers went their rounds and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Then it was the home boys settled down to business. Trainer Nagle was kept busy priming up the boys and they put on a winning gait and scored six successive goals in 1, 12 ½, 11 ½, 22, 4 and ½ minutes respectively. The visiting rooters were as silent as the night and the little German band was stretched out on the ground. The score now stood 9 to 2 in favour of the Athletics. To bring up this score entailed as immense amount of hard playing.

Frank Williams was without doubt the brilliant star of the home team and during the run of goals he made frequent sallies from his position in point and passed to G. Downey, McIlwain or Gourlay, who did the scoring.

The visitors were playing a swift game, however, and succeeded in scoring the next in 5 ½ minutes.

The Athletics took just two more goals in 3 and 4 minutes and the match was over, the score having jumped from 2 to 1 for the Dufferins to 9 to 3 for the Athletics.

The visitors took their defeat well and left the field without a complaint.

The playing was never too rough at any stage of the game, no one being ruled off, although Lobb received a bad crack on the leg. Gourlay was struck accidentally in the face by the ball, but not seriously hurt. The visiting team, to an observer, did some rather hard checking for strange grounds, and some were surprised that they were handled so easily by the home team.

Standing of the Clubs.

Orangeville 3 - 1
Seaforth 4 - 2
Athletics 3 - 3
Tecumseh Elms 2 - 3
Georgetown 2 - 5

Notes: The Athletics were photographed just before the ball was faced.

Seaforth defeated Georgetown at the latter place by 5 goals to 3.

Hagan received a nasty clip in the neck during Friday's game. 

The Daily Standard Wednesday August 28, 1901

The St. Catharines Athletics would suspend operations in the year 1900 after a particularly ugly incident in 1899. In a rough game against the Orangeville Dufferins, John "Shooty" Richardson would severely injure the Duff's Fred Dowling and earn himself an assault charge and a sensationalized trial before Police Magistrate Comfort in a St. Catharines courtroom. Even the Daily Standard would call the game "the most disgraceful exhibition ever witness here," and demand that the A's "officers and managing committee purge the game in this city of the slugging element." The paper added, "the people must be shown that the fastest and cleanest lacrosse can be played by gentlemen and can be patronized by ladies and other spectators without danger of being called upon to be involuntary eye witnesses of a slugging match."

Well, it would take until 1901 for the Athletics to come back from that dark day, and when they did, the old-time "clean, fast and gentlemanly game" had returned to the old corner lot. A good, clean team was fielded and only one thing stood between the "new" Athletics and the Globe Shield trophy... their old friends from Orangeville.

And the rest is history...



The much-talked-of question of how the championship of the C.L.A. is to be decided has been settled. One game will suffice for the whole business, and St. Catharines and Orangeville will battle for it at the Toronto Island on Saturday September 7th. Final arrangements were made over the telephone by representatives of each club late Tuesday evening. Nearly the entire Orangeville team saw the match with Brantford on Saturday and are confident they can beat St. Catharines. After the long hard row that the St. Catharines team has had to hoe, they are not taking any chances and will not underestimate the Orangeville team. If this team can be beaten, the Globe Shield and the C.L.A. pennant will come to this city.




The tale is told.

After months of hard, up-hill fighting, the lacrosse team has stepped up to the top rung of the ladder and just at the last minute made a misstep and fallen off.

The score of 7 to 5 is that of a strange, peculiar game. At the start the Dufferins were frightened and were second best. This continued until after the first quarter and then the tide commenced to gradually turn. The Dufferins saw it and confidence took the place of fear.

Then lack of condition was evident in the Athletics. Their mainstay of endurance, which has carried them all season, was not with them. To add to this was the hard luck of Reub. Williams having to go to the fence. Three goals were scored while this star defence man was off, demonstrating how useful he was. But on the other hand, had the Athletics been in the same condition they were at the time of the last Brantford game, they would not have missed one man for five minutes and again it is safe to say that the Brantfords, in their usual condition, would have been able to walk through the Northerners.

But it must not be imagined that the game was a poor one from a spectator's standpoint, for it was a nerve-killer. Time and time again the score was tied and broken by one team and then another, but lacrosse eyes could see the way matters were going. The game was hard, but it was an off day. It was painful to see certain home-players floundering about the field like a fleet of yachts that had lost their mainsails and all because they did not have the little amount of reserve and staying power that makes a man feel like playing at the finish.

In size and weight the teams were well matched. Orangeville has several young players and fleet boys they are, too: and they play a style of game that is unlike that put up by any other team.

Shore, Swain, Irving, Menary and Henry worked up some great, fast combination play that was dangerous all the time and more particularly when one man was off.

The Athletics played for all they were worth and the best team won, but it is a lesson that should never be forgotten. Dixon, in goal, performed well, while Rube Williams played the usual game on the defence. Elliott and Frank Williams were unable to beat the tactics of the Orangeville home on account of not being prepared for them, but were always in the game, just the same. Hagan worked hard, but should have had the ball passed to him oftener. "Tod" Downey played the best game put up by him this season. He was in good form and could have done better work in the field. Little McIlwain worked as hard as usual, but was knocked about by the heavy Dufferin defence like a cork in an angry sea, and a lot of his hard work was ineffectual, on account of his lack of weight partly, but more so by lack of support.

A dozen and one reasons can be advanced for the loss of the game, but it I snow over and the shouting has also died away. There is nothing now to do but to lie low for next year, while the trophy and the C.L.A. pennant are resting safely in the little town up in the north.

At home the crowds were anxious and enthusiastic, and as usual the Standard bulletin board was the centre of attraction.

In the evening a detailed account fresh from the Island by wire was published in an extra edition of the Standard. The news was not of the kind that pleased, but the people were satisfied with the service.

Below is the reproduction of the account:

Toronto Island, Sept. 7. - The final play-off for the championship of the C.L.A. has drawn a big crowd, despite other attractions. About 800 were present from St. Catharines while Orangeville has sent about 1,000.

Campbell, Orangeville's tricky defence player, was late in arriving, and it appeared as though the Northern team would be able to play eleven men, but he arrived just before the face-off.

Attendance is over 6,000.

The St. Kitts had the field first and spent some little time warming up. Then the Orangeville players, uniformed in green, went on amid a roar from their rooters.

The players and positions are as follows:

St. Catharines
Point-F. Williams
Cover Point-Elliott
First Defence-R. Williams
Second Defence-Harris
Third Defence-C. Downey
Third Home-McIlwain
Second Home-Hagan
First Home-Hare
Outside Home-Gourlay
Inside Home-G. Downey
Field Captain-Kingstone

Goal-P. Kearns
Point-W. Kearns
Cover Point-Menary
First Defence-Shore
Second Defence-Kirkwood
Third Defence-Campbell
Centre-J. Irving
Third Home-F. Dowling
Second Home-Swain
First Home-Hatcher
Outside Home-W. Irving
Inside Home-Henry
Field Captain-Jones

Referee-James McFadden, of Toronto

The umpires are Dr. Roberts, of Brampton, and A. H. Beaton, Toronto.

The timekeepers are H. Gillespie, Orangeville, Jas. F. Timmons, St. Catharines, and J. D. Bailey, Toronto.

The game started at 3:35 o'clock. Irving secured the rubber at the start and Orangeville had the best of the play for a while, the J. Kearns went off for five minutes for fouling Hare. Hare sustained a cut on the head from Shore, delaying the game a few minutes. Orangeville made an attack, Elliott and Williams relieved. Some good play followed and C. Downey got in the middle of some home play and scored in 9 minutes.

The next started fast. Gourlay, McIlwain and G. Downey shot, but the shots went wrong. G. Downey scored finally in 2 ½ minutes. Orangeville showed signed of fatigue, Swain doing some fumbling, but the first quarter was hard fight nevertheless. The score at the end of the quarter: Athletics 2; Orangeville o.

Second Quarter

Orangeville is fresher and plays harder. A rush was made on the St. Kitts flags, but Elliott relieved. Harris ran through a whole bunch, threw to Gourlay, who shot, though wild. A dangerous attack followed on the St. Catharines nets and still another. Elliott relieved once and the rest went wild.

Orangeville is good on close combination, but unfortunate in shooting. Their running is faster than the Athletics. Harris, however, is supreme against heavy Shore. R. Williams, for checking F. Dowling too hard, was sent to the fence. McIlwain was set on by Shore and knocked out, but came up without delaying the game. Cameron takes Williams position, the rest move down and the St. Kitts home is one man short. Orangeville made a heavy attack, bodying to the goal. Dixon defended well, but Henry made a successful scoop, scoring the first for Orangeville in 11 minutes.

R. Williams then took his place and the ball was about the Orangeville goal for awhile. Then a strong but well-calculated attack on the St. Catharines nets followed, Dixon making a phenomenal stop and throw out. Elliott saved another and avoided a vicious swipe by Henry. The ball got as far as Hagan. Then Kirkwood got in and down it came. Irving secured it and scored in 5 minutes.

Wild excitement followed and the hardest play was in evidence. McIlwain and Hagan tried hard but Menary, Kearns and Shore were in the way. McIlwain was again the victim of a hard check and went down, but soon came up. In the excitement the St. Kitts home loomed up and G. Downey made a scoring shot just before the half-time whistle blew. Score-St. Catharines 3, Orangeville 2.

Third Quarter

It was Orangeville's face-off. The play was quick and fast in Orangeville's favour, in 2 ½ minutes Swain show one in, setting the crowd wild as the score was tied. The Athletics home became ragged, and the defence saved several goals. Orangeville roughs it and McIlwain gets hit, Kirkwood going to the fence. Referee McFadden is strict but fair. McIlwain got into the game and shot. Kearns caught it, but McIlwain knocked it off his stick. Time, 8 minutes.

The next was short and sweet for Orangeville. It never got on the other side of centre, going down to Irving, who scored in ½ minute.

The next was even play for a while, the ball travelling on sticks up and down the field. R. Williams went into two Orangeville men and was sent to the fence. Then Irving scored another in 4 ½ minutes.

Another followed this for Orangeville, Henry doing the trick in ½ minute. Then captain Kingstone ran it front of an Orangeville player and the referee made a record by ruling him off. St. Kitts gingered up and Downey just missed scoring by hard luck.

The Athletics home men were playing about the Orangeville nets when the quarter ended.

Score-Orangeville 6, St. Catharines 4.

Fourth Quarter

The Athletics drew themselves together for a last effort. Hare went on at cover point and Harris to point. Elliott taking a place on the home and the changes worked. Hagan scoring in 1 ½ minutes.

Orangeville again attacked, but Harris relieved. Capt. Kingstone went into the game at the head of his team, and coached his men in some fast play. There were dangerous moments on both sides, and it looked as though St. Kitts would make another tie, but just at the critical moment something would go wrong.

Finally Henry added another to the Orangeville score, making the score 7 to 5 in the Dufferins favour. Joe Cameron was given three minutes rest, and shortly afterwards Shore went off for five minutes for trying to cut Elliott up like a piece of paper. When time was called the ball was in St. Kitts possession but the pennant was Orangeville's.

Over-confidence lost the game in the last half of the match.

Orangeville wins-7 to 5.

The Teams Record

The record of the Athletics this year has been one of which any team might be proud, and for a team that is home-bred in every sense of the word the honour is all the greater. The twelve boys raised in the fruit-scented atmosphere of the Garden City saw the finish of Brantford's imported team, and the city that was so lacrosse crazy two weeks ago has now almost forgotten the game.

Before the present team was available and before any practice was indulged in to speak of, the Toronto Varsity team won an exhibition match on the grounds here on May 24th on a score of 7 to 0. Since then there have been great changes in the team and the atmosphere about it; and the contests with Brantford did much to advertise both cities about the country.

Since May 24th, the record of the team has been as follows:

June 8-Defeated Paris at St. Catharines, 12 goals to 5.

June 15-Defeated Paris at Paris, 5 goals to 2.

July 1-Defeated Brantford at Brantford, 4 goals to 1. (Exhibition match).

July 6-Defeated Tecumsehs at Toronto, 9 goals to 0.

July 10-Defeated Markham at St. Catharines, 12 goals to 3. (Exhibition match).

July 20-Defeated Galt at St. Catharines, 16 goals to 1.

July 27-Defeated Tecumsehs at St. Catharines, 17 goals to 1.

Aug 3-Lost to Brantford at Brantford, 1 goal to 4.

Aug 10-Defeated Brantford at St. Catharines, 5 goals to 4.

Aug 17-Won from Galt by default.

Aug 24-Defeated Brantford at Toronto, 4 goals to 2.

Sept 7-Lost to Orangeville at Toronto, 5 goals to 7.

A great game..Who was the Jonah?..Hats off to Orangeville..Brantford's out of it anyway..It was nip and tuck all the time.To the victor belongs the spoils..Who wanted the plate anyways?..The day was excellent and the game better..Never mind boys, we are proud of you still..One of us had to bite the dust..Cheer up boys..Your "Willie" Harris played a great game..Two great "fall-downs"-Gaudaur and St. Kitts..Bye-bye St. Catharines, we must leave you-Orangeville..The boys deserve the good credit for keeping the game clean..Now, whatever you say tonight, let it not be "I told you so".. Those "heavyweights" from up north must have shown up "real"..Well! well! Now we can settle down to business again and get in the hay..Orangeville may as well keep the Globe's trophy they had there last week. 

The Banner Sept 29th, 1938

Throughout the season, rung by rung, they climbed up the lacrosse ladder. Now, perched safely high at the top, with the last rung underneath, the Orangeville Junior Greenshirts can survey with the satisfaction the Junior "B" lacrosse field and feel somewhat boastful perhaps, but none the less deservedly, that they are undisputed champions of the "B" realm.

Tangling with the Brantford Brants for the Ontario crown the Dufferins eliminated their last obstacle in straight games.

After a 19-15 win in Brantford Wednesday night, the Greenshirts came back to Orangeville to take the final match 13-10 in one of the best games seen this year. The Brantford episode was reported as a rough contest win, which the Dufferins had their hands full both during the game and immediately after the game defending themselves against the onslaught of a section of angry fans.

It was reported to be a disgraceful brawl which the Ontario Lacrosse Association says will be treated firmly. A full investigation will be conducted.

The contest here was fast and furious with action every minute of the playing hour. Spectators, when the tilt was over, were limp with excitement.

Facing elimination, the Brants took to the field with determination evident in their ranks. A victory by Brantford would force a third game.

The Brants starts off on the right foot with A. Hill notching two quick goals, both on long shots, before the Dufferins entered the scoring column on a counter by Hopkins from Patterson. Powless added another to the visitors' total, but just before the period ended Large, on two well-earned goals, tied the game at 3-3. Murray and Horlock assisted on these counters from close in front.

The Dufferins built up their winning margin to 7-4 in the second half with Patterson, Hopkins, Doug Gillespie and Jeffers scored. Orangeville goalie Cumming had some anxious moments.

Trailing by four goals, the Brants staged a ganging attack in the third which netted them two goals at the start. However, Kelly and Powless offset these to reestablish the Dufferins' lead.

Play slowed down somewhat in the final frame 

The Banner Sept 8th, 1955


In a game Monday night the lads scored a thriller and wound up a long season with an outstanding effort.

Fighting to come from behind all through the first half, the local boys found the answer to the strong Peterborough defence in the third quarter and went on to win with a seven-goal splurge and swept Peterborough off its feet.

The first period score was Peterborough 4, Orangeville 3. Half time saw a tie score at 8-8 with Orangeville playing three men against five. Peterborough's inability to score with the two-man advantage seemed to be the turning point.

Once again the outstanding work of goalie Paul Courtney kept Orangeville steady in the early stages and his brilliant play throughout was rewarded not only by a championship, but also by a hoist to the shoulders of his teammates and a victory march to the dressing room after the game.

Johnny Cornelius and Rod Webb were the high scorers with three each. Right on their heels were Bob Montgomery, Len Gamble and Ches Cotton with two apiece. Single goals were counted by Sid Murray, Jim Grennis, Bill and Art Marshall and team captain Don Ferguson.

Only four penalties were handout out during the game, three to Orangeville and one to Peterborough. This is a good indication that the game was clean and fast, and marks the 31st game for the boys this year, without a single injury serious enough to make a boy miss school or work.