By Beth Atkinson
Lacrosse was Canada’s most popular sport before ice hockey came along. In the 1630s, French Jesuit missionaries working in the St. Lawrence Valley saw lacrosse being played by the Native American Indians. Jean de Brébeuf wrote about the game being played by the Huron Indians in 1636 and it was he who named the game ‘lacrosse’. The first recorded match was between the Anglophones and Mohawk First Nations on August 29, 1844.
The deep roots lacrosse has in Canadian history were showcased in 1994 when it became Canada’s official summer sport.
It wasn’t until 1950 that the Victoria Shamrocks played their first season and ever since have become well established in the Greater Victoria community. For a time, from 1982 to 1995, the Shamrocks were known as the Victoria Pay Less; but everyone was pleased with the change back to the green and white after that.
Chris Welch, general manager of the Victoria Shamrocks, credits the longevity of the Shamrocks success to the fans:
“The fierce loyalty of Shamrocks players and alumni is matched by the equally fierce loyalty to the club and to the game itself shown by Victoria lacrosse fans.”
In 2018, the Shamrocks will be entering into their 69th season and they definitely have a lot to show for it:
• Awards for ‘The Best Local Sports Team on the West Shore’ for the second consecutive year
• 21 ‘Western Lacrosse Association’ Championships
• 2 former Shamrocks lacrosse players are listed in Sports Illustrated among the 50 greatest Canadian Athletes of the 20th century!
• 9 ‘Mann Cups’—Canada’s signature lacrosse event
With the 2018 Western Lacrosse season just around the corner, Shamrocks will be fighting to bring home the Mann Cup for the 10th time.