There aren’t too many lacrosse nuts around who can also claim they dragged a woman to a burning stake.
Barry Powless can!
Oh, the stake barbecue was all make believe, but his involvement and love of lacrosse is no fanciful illusion.
Outstanding in both the field and box games, he also distinguished himself as a coach and league executive. And add actor to his curriculum vitae – but more of that later.
Born April 8,1957, in Syracuse, New York, Barry learned his superb stick skills on the field at LaFayette High School where in his senior year (1975), he was named to the U.S. High School All-American team. It earned him a four-year field scholarship at Syracuse University.
Barry also became interested in the box version of lacrosse, joining St. Regis Mohawks. He was a quick learner, earning Player of the year honours in 1978 as his team won the Eastern Ontario title.
In 1980, Powless visited British Columbia for the first time as a member of the Can-Am Warriors, silver medallists in the first World Box Lacrosse championships.
He must have liked the West Coast for, the following year, he lined up with the North Shore Indians’ Senior “B” club. Over the next four years, the Indians captured a bronze and a gold medal in the national Senior “B” championships and Powless, in 1981, was named the President Cup’s MVP.
Meanwhile, the Senior “A” New Westminster Salmonbellies coveted his talents, picking him up for two Mann Cup series – gold in 1981 and runnerup in 1982.
Barry returned East for three years, then rejoined the North Shore Indians in 1987. The Vancouver Burrards shared his talents that year but, in 1988, he joined the Coquitlam Cup tournament, albeit again unsuccessful. Barry ended his Senior “A” career in Fergus in 1989 and Buffalo in 1991.
In 120 Senior “A” games East and West, Barry accumulated 226 points, 19 of them in Mann Cup play. Several hundred more points – records have vanished with time – were racked up at the Senior “B” level.
In 1999, Powless joined the fledging Major Indoor Lacrosse League (MILL) for a two-year stint as coach of the Rochester entry. Then, in 2000, he lined up with the MILL’s successor National Lacrosse League as vice-president in charge of lacrosse operations, a position he still retains.
But there was also that stake-burning incident!
While working for the Onondaga Nations School in 1991 as a consultant for their Native American program, and coaching lacrosse at his old high school Barry was asked to find some extras for a lacrosse scene in the movie “Last of the Mohicans.”
One look at Powless’ broad smile and good looks was enough to have the casting director give Barry one of the roles in the movie. His first introduction into the Hollywood limelight resulted in an old time Mohawk haircut (he called it whitewalls – dark on top with white sides). He then was selected to be more than just a background extra – Barry was chosen to drag the star, Madeleine Stow, to a burning stake for a good old-fashioned cook- out.
Playing in movies was an experience, a lot of fun, but Barry decided to stick to sports and not follow lacrosse star onto silver screen. Smith, of course, changed his name to and, as Tonto, helped the Lone Ranger dispatch all the bad guys from the Wild West.