What qualities embody leadership? Is it inspiration? Perhaps spectacular offensive attacks? Or is it unforgiving defensive skills?
Meet William Keith Chisholm, an athlete who had it all.
The hard-nosed former captain of the Vancouver Burrards that dominated senior lacrosse in Canada during the 1960’s was never much on finesse. It wasn’t his style. What he did possess, though, was an uncrushable will to win. His infectious determination invariably found its way to his teammates.
In short, Bill Chisholm was the heart of the Burrards.
Born in Hansworth, Saskatchewan on September 20, 1935, Bill moved to Vancouver at the age of six and soon began playing in the Calders-Bluebirds East Hastings Minor Lacrosse system. After four junior seasons with the PNE Indians and the Vancouver Rockies, Bill joined the Burrards in 1956 and began his wild 13-year senior box lacrosse career.
Bill gave no quarter and expected none in return during his 449 games. His rugged determination to halt the opposition was duly noted by referees; in fact, Bill was banished to the penalty box for a total of 1,157 minutes.
A relentless defensive specialist, Bill nevertheless could lift cheering fans to their feet with his electrifying hell-bent-for-leather charges toward the enemy goalâ€¦never dipsy-doodling, just straight over or through those unlucky enough to be checking him. During his 1956-1968 senior career, Bill scored 261 goals and set up another 182 for 443 points, virtually a point per game average. Six times he was named to the All-Star squad.
Not surprisingly, Bill’s example of total commitment inspired his mates to championship heights. He took part in six Mann Cup National finals, capturing four gold medals (1961, 1963, 1964, 1967).
In the off-season, Bill kept in shape playing First Division Mainland League soccer as fullback for the Vancouver Canadians.
Little problems like crippling injuries failed to stop him during his early lacrosse and soccer playing career; he would merely slap on some tape, grit his teeth (although the front ones were missing) and rush back into the heat of battle.
But one day his knees balked and lacrosse lost one of its most colourful figures. When he packed away his lacrosse stick, Vancouver retired his Number 18 as a tribute to his incredible leadership. Then, in 1973, Bill was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.