As MC, it’s my pleasure to introduce our after dinner-speaker. Really, a  guy like him  doesn’t  need  an  introduction,  not a man who’s in the  Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, played on four Mann Cup teams, won the  Mike Kelly Award as MVP in the 1953 series, won the Tom Longboat Trophy  as the outstanding Canadian Indian athlete, not once, but twice, and  fathered and coached eight lacrosse players and five statisticians. Talk  about putting something back into the game!  Ladies and gentlemen, would  you welcome the Old Warrior of the game of lacrosse, Ross Powless of the Six Nations Reserve!

        Thanks. Gee, it kinda throws a guy off getting applause like that in  Fergus.  Times sure change.  I remember coming up here from Six Nations  about forty years ago to play lacrosse.  At that time who’d ever thought  some day I’d be invited to be a guest speaker at a lacrosse banquet in Fergus?   I’ve been booed here as a player, booed here as a coach and  tonight I’m likely gonna be booed here as a speaker.  I’ve never made  any excuses for poor performances in the past and I’m not gonna start tonight.  I can’t help it if I’m losing my memory.  The other day I told my wife, Wilma, it was the first thing to go on me.  She said, Ross are you sure it’s the first thing?

       I said I’d come to Fergus on one condition, if I could chew gum while I talked.  Coming  to Fergus  makes me kinda nervous still.  How could I  forget  that one Fergus team I played against?  Harry Kazarian from Owen Sound,  J.J. Hill from Kitchener,  Curly Mason and the Landoni brothers,  Gary  and Ron  and Peter  from Fergus.  It was always such a joy to play  against  that team.  Like  the  time I went up for the ball, my shoulder  pad slipped  and  one of them guys slashed me on the way down.  Broke my  arm.  Gave  me  the  opportunity  to  go  hunting since it sure ended my lacrosse season.  I decided  I needed to get away for awhile, so as soon as  I got  the  cast  on, some friends and I went moose hunting north of Hearst  over  near the  town  of Kapuskasing.  Usually I’m a pretty good shot,  but  I was having a bad day.  Every time one of my friends wanted to connect with me via walkie talkie, I’d hear, Come in Broken Arrow, do you read me?

       Nobody seemed to get my name right in them days.  I used to get called all kinds of names. Blanketass, Hatchetman, especially when I had a good game  in Fergus.  After  awhile,  some folks started calling me Powless. But even that wasn’t quite right.

          Ya see, my family was kinda deprived, in a cultural way, because my  great-grandfather was  such an industrious man.  He farmed land on three concessions  on  Six Nations up to the Grand River near Brantford, now known as the Home  of Wayne Gretzky.  My great-grandfather worked hard and  he expected the same from his sons.  It got so bad he wouldn’t even let  his  boys go to pow wows in the summer or in the fall.  Pretty soon people started  to feel sorry  for the boys.  It wasn’t long till they began calling them pow-wow-less.  Somehow it got shortened to Powless.

        At  least  that’s how I always thought I got my name.  Then one day I was  talking  to Tom Hill.  He’s the curator over at the Woodland Indian  Cultural  Centre  in Brantford,  right next  to the old Mohawk Institute  where  I used  to go to residential school  That Tommy, he’s got lots of culture. He’s a pretty smart young fella, an Echo Hill from Six Nations.

    We got so many Hills on our reserve we had to make up new names for some of  them to tell  them apart.  Now we’ve  got  Squires  and Smucks and Git-gits, that’s chicken in Mohawk, and Jackets and Shinnys and Pumpkins and Jeeks.  My  step-sister  was a  Jeek Hill and she tells me the Jeeks are dying out.

      According to Tommy Hill, one of my ancestores was a fella named Paulis Paulis.  Guess  our family didn’t have too much imagination giving a guy  a name  like a repeating rifle.  But we were always industrious.  Paulis Paulis  came  up with  Joseph  Brant  after the American Revoulution and settled in the origional Mohawk Village along the Grand River. The other Nations, the Senecas, the Onondagas, the Oneidas, the Tuscaroras and the Cayugas each had their owen places.  Tom said  the Mohawks  were kinda like the aristocracy of the Iroquois Confederacy.  They’ve found brass     buttons and china and crystan at the orinal Mohawk site.  They even know  Joseph Brant had black  slaves, but nobody really likes to talk about Indians having black  slaves.  I guess this Paulis Paulis ancestor of mine was a big  farmer, a strong Loyalist and probably a member of the Church of England and the Masonic Temple.

       Now we get to the part I found the most interesting.  Tommy Hill can’t say for sure, but it’s more than likely my ancestors, and maybe Paulis Paulis himself, played lacrosse  in the original Mohawk Village at Six Nations.  Hell, I said to Tommy,  that doesn’t surprise me one bit.  If Paulis Paulis  was  anything at all like my grandfather Peter Powless or  my  dad  Chauncey or my uncles  Sam  and Dick Powless and Cec and Titus Van Every,  he was a lacrosse player even before the Powless family left the Mohawk Village in the 1840’s and moved over to Sour Springs Road.

             I remember my dad and my uncles playing lacrosse down at the old     Mohawk Stars Grounds  about half  a mile from Herb Martin’s place.  Herb    Martin’s Special,  now there was a lacrosse stick, couldn’t nobody match    Herb’s craftmanship,  it was  famous all over the country.  And Martin’s    Corner  Brass  Band,  I can hear it now,  and I can  still  see  Freddie    Martin’s boys,  Pat on drums, Wilbur on coronet and Linwood on trombone.    People  would  walk  in from  miles around in them days to see lacrosse.    Between  periods us kids  would pick up the lacrosse sticks and race out    onto the field to play.  The referee would have a heck of a time getting    the playing  area cleared.  Didn’t matter none.  It helped the booth and    nobody ever wanted those games to end anyway.

            Six Nations had about five good teams in them days.  Somebody was    always  trying to recruit a  good player away from his old team!  It was    the  Mohawk Stars  who played off  the reserve.  They  used to go places    like  Salamanca,  New York  to  the  Allegheny Indian  Reserve  near the    Pennsylvania  border.  Them  Mohawk Stars were tough.  I seen Judy Punch    Garlow  in goal down at the Mohawk Stars Grounds.  Never had no mask on,    no shin pads on, no throat guard.  Looked like a leopard sometimes, with    all  them  black and  blue bruises  on him.  I don’t  know how he got so    brave.  Maybe  from  having a girl’s name.  See, Punch’s mother was real    tired  of having  boys.  Before Punch was born she decided she was gonna    have a girl. Even picked out the name Judy.  After he was born everybody    just called him Judy Punch after them puppets in England.

         Old Punch is getting close to eighty now.  He’s the only one living    from the 1932 Atlantic City team.  You should hear him laugh about those    midgets  he  seen down in Atlantic City, the little bakers with big chef    hats  and little wee loaves of bread.  I was about six years old when my    Uncle Cec  and Judy Punch and the Smith boys, Beef and Harry and Don and    Sid,  and  the other  Six Nations  boys went down there to introduce box    lacrosse.

        See, quite a few of the boys had been working and playing lacrosse in   Buffalo.  In  Atlantic  City,  it was  sort  of the World Championship of   Lacrosse with the boys representing Atlantic City and playing off for six   weeks  against five other teams from Montreal and Toronto and Boston, the   top teams in lacrosse in them days.

         The first week went okay.  Everything was new and the boys had never    been to a place like Atlantic City before.  But after that  they started    getting  tired  of the fancy hotel, tired of the beach and even tired of    the movies they went to every afternoon to pass the time.  The boys from    Six Nations were used to working hard and always having something to do.    So there they were, in the Playground of the World, bored to death.  The    only time they were happy was when they were out playing lacrosse.  They    never lost one game down at Atlantic City.

             But who woulda thought Harry Smith would be up on the big screen    himself  in just  a few years?   He  was  as  bored  with  the movies in    Atlantic City  as all  the others.  Yet it wasn’t long till Harry became    Jay Silverheels and the Lone Ranger started calling him Tonto.

             I’m very proud of Harry Smith and so is everyone on Six Nations.    Not  only  was he  a fine lacrosse  player,  but  he was a Golden Gloves    champion  in  boxing and a wrestler,  and  after  he got to Hollywood he    helped a lot of Indian people get into the movies.  This was quite a son    and  quite a  family A.G.E. Smith and Mabel Smith raised.  People always    want to know about Harry Smith.  One time a writer asked me, How was Jay    Silverheels seen on the Six Nations Reserve?  Hardly ever, I told her.

           I wasn’t lying. After Joe E. Brown, the comedian, met Harry out in    Hollywood,  he  didn’t  come  home too often.  No jets in them days.  If    Harry hadn’t gone to Hollywood to play lacrosse, Joe E. Brown would have    never  met  him and convinced him to go into the movies.  I seen Harry a    few  times  after  he was  famous  and I used to check out the Brantford    Expositor  for his movies.  I seen  Drums Along the Mohawk, Broken Arrow    and  Saskatchewan and lots of others.  I used to get a kick out of Harry    speaking Mohawk,  especially  when it didn’t go with the story line.  Us    Mohawk  would be  sitting  in the Brantford movie house laughing and all    the other people would by wondering what was so funny.

           Judy Punch Garlow told me how Harry got the name Silverheels.  One     time  the boys won  new white  lacrosse shoes for playing good and Harry     ran  so fast  in them new white shoes,  all you could see was flashes of   white at his heels. I guess they couldn’t very well call him Whiteheels, him being Mohawk and all, so they called him Silverheels.

        I remember one time when Harry did come home to Six Nations.  He seen    Judy Punch  at a distance and  Judy Punch seen him too.  Harry got a big    smile on his face and he came running and gave Judy Punch such a big hug    it almost brought tears to Old Punch.

           My step-sister Myrtle Smith knew Harry when they were still young.    She’s the one who was a Jeek Hill and she married into the Smith family.    Not Harry’s family.  She married Beef Smith, Harry’s first cousin.  That    Beef  was  a heck  of  a lacrosse player too.  He didn’t care.  He’d run    into them all, big or small.  Beef went to Atlantic City in ’32 with his    brother  Sid  and  Harry’s brother Don.  Harry’s father was a brother to    Beef’s mother, see, because Beef’s mother was a Smith before she married    a Smith.  No  relation,  of course.  At  least that’s  how I got it from    Myrtle.

         And she should know.  She’s a clan mother of the Turtle Clan and she    knows  these things.  That’s my clan too.  Anyway,  Myrtle and the other    girls used to see Harry at dances and I guess he was so good-looking and    had  so much  of that charisma  that  all the girls were just wild about    Harry Smith.

        I knew all Harry’s brothers.  But I knew Chubbie best.  He wasn’t big    and  stout like his  cousin Beef.  Chubbie was tall and lean and comical    like all his brothers.  In 1945, when I was nineteen, Chubby and me were    playing  lacrosse  out on  the west  coast with Andy Paull’s North Shore    team.  One day I had a date with a real beautiful girl.  I’d just bought    myself  a new  suit  and a nice sports shirt, had the collar out over my    suit real nice and everything, had my shoes shined up just right.  There    were  lots of Indian people waiting for the ferry to Vancouver that day.    Just  as the girl  and I stepped aboard, Chubbie hollers from the shore,    Hey  Ross!  I’ll  need my  suit  tomorrow so make sure you bring it home    early.  And Del Powless  will need his socks too.  That Chubbie!  I felt    like about two cents standing beside that girl, me trying to impress her    and everything.

       I had the chance to meet lots of interesting people out at the Coast.    When  Jimmy Martin  and I got there, who should be standing at the train    to meet us but  Chief Mathias Joe of Capilano and his son.  Both of them    dressed  in full  Indian regalia.  Boy,  they  had  some  good  lacrosse    players  out there. The Baker boys, Stan Joseph Sr. and Stan Joseph Jr.,    Joe Johnson.

         The man I really learned a lot about life from was Andy Paull.  He’d    been recruiting players from Six Nations since the thirties.  And he was    a respected  man all across  Canada.  I stayed  with Andy and his family    my first time out there.  I remember he had poor eyesight and he used to    like  to smoke  roll-your-owns.  He’d  be at  the typewriter,  cigarette    hanging out of his mouth,  nose pretty much touching the page, averaging    about seven and a half words per minute.  Maybe he couldn’t type, but he    really  had a legal  mind.  An Indian person would get into some kind of    trouble upcoast or downcoast and he’d be right there getting information    and  feeding  it into the lawyers.  He saved a lot of Indian people from    prison.  He  cleared up  misunderstandings between Indian and non-Indian    people.  At  one time  he was the President of the North American Indian    Brotherhood  and  it  was  Andy Paull  who  first  got me  interested in    politics.   Course in them days, my mind was mostly on lacrosse.

           After I met the Paulls, I visited them every time I got the chance    to go to B.C.  Last  time I seen Andy’s wife, she was in an old age home    out there.  We had  our usual  conversation.  She  always asked the same    questions:  How is  your family?  How is  your son Gaylord?  Your wife’s    name is Wilma, isn’t it?  Oh yes, I’d always tell her, it’s still Wilma,    it’s still the same wife.  Good, she’d giggle, Mrs. Paull still had that    little giggle of hers.  The Paulls had the belief, once you married, you    stayed  married.  They were Squamish and they had respect for the eagle;    eagles, of course, mate for life.

          I’ve had the same wife for more than forty years now.  After I had   come back  from the west coast I had gone to Buffalo to look for work.  I   still had  a few dollars in my pocket yet.  I guess I got too many drinks   in me one night and it ended up two girls took me by cab to the safety of   my  brother’s home.  Later, I  found out  it was Wilma who’d helped me so   the  next time  I seen her,  I went  and  thanked  her  for it and we got   talking and we’re still talking.

       After we had Gaylord, and Wilma was with child the second time, my dad    laid down  the law.  He told me,  If you think enough of her, you should    marry  her.  My  dad  thought  I’d found  myself a  real  nice  lady,  a    beautiful lady,  and so,  using his judgment and mine,  I asked Wilma to    marry me.  I thought she’d probably  say yes.  Wilma’s a Bomberry.  And,    in my  opinion,  all the  Bomberrys  are social climbers.  By marrying a    Powless,  Wilma  would  definitely be  marrying  up.  Course, if you ask    Wilma  about it,  she’d  tell you I’m the one who married up.  I have to    hope it’s just a joke between our two families.

               I got to be good friends with Wilma’s Uncle Sam Bomberry. When    Gaylord was a kid, we stayed with Uncle Sam while we were doing seasonal    work picking peaches in Jordan.  We got a lacrosse team going and it was    made up  of Japanese boys, Jordan Station boys and a few strays like me.    We went  over to  Ohsweken at Six  Nations to play lacrosse.  We brought    Andy Bomberry with us and, by golly, if they didn’t get him to put on an    Ohsweken Six Nations  sweater.  That was heresy!   It wasn’t long till I got  one of our  sweaters on Del Powless.  We ended up beating Ohsweken,    so we wouldn’t give Andy a ride back to Jordan.  I don’t know how he got    home.  Or if he ever got home.

               Lacrosse was lots of fun in them days.  I have to thank my dad    for  setting  me straight on that.  When I was a junior player I thought    there  was just as  much glory knocking a man down as scoring a goal.  I    remember one game  George Bomberry and Jum Martin took a couple of lines    of  us  Six Nations  boys  over  to help  Port Dover  out.  They  had  a    redheaded  coach  named Rev. Hare,  and  Red  Kelly, the  hockey  player    played  on that  team.  My dad watched  me  play and after the game took    me aside.  I’d been knocking guys over left and right, a real tough guy,    I thought,  and my dad told me,  Rules are  made to be enforced.  You’re    not out  there  to injure people, you’re out there to play your best and    enjoy the  game.  If you  keep playing  this way,  all  the teams in the    league  are  gonna  get  even  with  you,  and if you get hurt, your own    teammates are gonna laugh at you.

          I was past the age where my dad could put the wood to me, but what    he  said went.  He loved  the game  so much  he couldn’t stand to see me    abuse it in that way.  From that time on I started to become a different    kind  of player.  I continued to do a lot of running and training in the    spring  when  there was  still snow on the ground.  I loved running long    distance,  just as  my father  and  my  uncles  did.  When  others  were    starting to  tire in the third period, I was still going strong.  I know    it’s hard  to believe,  the way  I’ve ballooned up these past few years,    but  in them days  I could run like a deer.  With conditioning like that    and my dad’s good attitude, people seemed to want me on their team.

         Like in 1949, I was playing with Brantford against Huntsvile.  After    the game,  a guy comes up to me and asks if I’d be interested in playing    the next  season for  Huntsville.  I said  I’d think about it and the guy    writes my name and address down on a Turret cigarette package.  I didn’t    think  nothing  more of it.  Lots of  teams had been showing interest in    me, Fergus and Brampton to name two.  I don’t know, maybe, I was used to    getting  booed in Fergus, I wouldn’t have known what to do if the people    in Fergus started cheering.

           Before I knew it,  the Huntsville people had set up a meeting over    in  Hagersville.  That was my address,  but really  I lived over on Sour    Springs Road near Ohsweken.  But those people way up north in Huntsville    didn’t  know nothing  about that.  So I  went  over to  Hagersville  and    we  talked about  the  contract.  I wanted  to  know  about  the  fringe    benefits.  I didn’t  know much about negotiating, except what I’d picked    up  from  a  few  players.  But  I  knew  enough  to  ask for insurance,    transportation  there  and back, permission to go into work late after a    long  road game,  say ten a.m. or noon,  a place to live,  that  sort of    thing.  And, by golly, if they didn’t go for it.  Wasn’t long till Wilma    and the kids and I were living up in Huntsville in a tent on Fairy Lake.

             Gaylord really started taking to lacrosse up in Huntsville. Some    kids are born  with a  silver spoon in their mouth.  Not Gaylord.  Seems    like he was born with a lacrosse stick in his hand and a coontail cap on    his  head.  That’s how  I  remember  when  he  was  four  years  old  in    Huntsville. When I played lacrosse Gaylord and I used to put on a little    show for the fans in-between the periods.  I’d stand with my back to the    net and he’d  put  a little shift on me and go in for the goal.  Beat me    every time!

           Jack Bionda didn’t seem much older than Gaylord when I played with    him  on  that  Hunstsville  team.  Bionda  must have been all of sixteen    years old and weighed about  a hundred and twenty-five.  I was a grownup    man  of twenty-four  with a wife  and  family,  must  have  weighed  two    fifteen. If you meet Bionda today, he’ll tell you, if it wasn’t for him,    I never woulda gotten started in lacrosse.  I still remember Jack Bionda    running down the arena with his tongue hanging out.  He never bit it off    but maybe he shoulda,  some of  the things he says now.  The truth is, I    taught Jack Bionda all he knows.

            After setting Jack on the right track I moved on to Peterborough.    I knew  it was gonna be tough jumping from intermediate to senior, but a    couple of  referees  had passed my  name  on and  I  thought I’d take my    chances with the Peterborough Timbermen.

          One night during the tryouts some of the Timbermen and me went over    to  the Montreal  House  in Peterborough  for some ale.  We’d had a hard    practice and we wanted to restore some of them lost body fluids.  That’s    what we used to say in them days anyway.  Pretty soon the tap man starts    talking  to the waiter and the waiter walks over and asks me if I’ve got    my blue  card.  The  blue card  showed  enfranchisement  and only people    who’d  given  up their Indian status and become enfranchised could drink    legally.  I  told the waiter  I didn’t  have one and he said he couldn’t    serve me.  Right away  the Timbermen stood up and said, If he’s not good    enough,  we’re not  good enough  neither.  When  they walked  out of the    Montreal  House for me,  it made my season.  Shortly after that,  I made    the team and it wasn’t long till I was drinking ale with my teammates in    the Montreal House.

          Peterborough was the place to play in them days.  In 1951, my first    year there, we played outside in Miller Bowl.  You couldn’t get any more    people in there, 4,500.  One series went eight games and we just got out    to the west coast by a whisker. That year we were the first eastern club    to  win  the Mann Cup on the west coast in eleven years.  In 1952 we won    again  in  Maple Leaf  Gardens  and in ’53 I met up with my young friend    Jack Bionda.

             Jack was playing for the Victoria Shamrocks and he’d grown a lot    since Huntsville.  He  was big and lanky and he could really barrel down    the  floor.  In  Victoria there was a loose ball and we both went up for    it.  Jack  stuck out his rear  end which was considerably bigger than it    used  to be and  hit  me in the stomache.  He knocked the wind out of me    and  I dropped the ball. Jack’s standing there looking at me with terror    in his eyes. Jesus Christ, Jack, I said, I didn’t teach you that. Caught    Jack off guard and I raced away with the ball.

           We won that year too.  I remember standing in line after the game.    I didn’t  have the  finesse of some of the players in that time.  I just    worked  hard and  I’d learned to shift.  I used to make a lot of assists    by shifting  and beating one man and making another one come to me.  I’d    studied the goaltenders and learned their weaknesses and I’d try to pick    up  everything I  could  from my  teammates.  So,  when  I heard my name    called, I didn’t think I heard it right, thought there must be something    wrong with the microphone.  When I heard my name again, I didn’t believe    it.  Rusty  or Moon  or one  of the Timbermen  had to push me out of the    line to go get the Mike Kelly Award as MVP for the series.

           When I won that award, well, I didn’t win it, my teammates won it    for me,  we seemed  to be killing  penalties  all  night.  Rusty Slater,    Harry Wipper, Nip A’Hearne, Curly Mason.  The other team wanted the ball    so much they made  mistakes and  we got some of our most important goals    a man short.  I  guess  they had to give  the MVP award to someone other    than our goalie, Moon Wooton.  Moon,  he helped  me out in so many ways,    but he’d already won it many times than a man has a right to.

               To be on one Mann Cup team would have been all a guy could ask    for  in this world.  But  to be  on four was just wonderful.  The fourth    year  I wasn’t  playing during  the season  with  the Timbermen but they    picked  me  up for  the  playoffs.  A  lot of their players had to go to    professional  hockey  or football camp and the team was short.  It was a    real honour to be asked to help them out.

             I’d been playing in St. Catharines that fourth year because some    of  the kids were in school at Six Nations and I had a growing family to    support.  I decided  I wasn’t  gonna  spend my life doing seasonal work,    picking berries here, working in tobacco fields there.  Through lacrosse    I got into the carpenter’s union, Hamilton Local 18.  From there I never    looked  back.  I worked  with  a very  smart man named Sid Needham.  Sid    taught me a lot.  He never wanted to be a supervisor, though, he said he    didn’t  want to  take the  job home with him.  I was a different sort, I    wanted to take it on. I dont’ know, maybe having all those kids at home,    I figured  I could eventually handle two dozen carpenters on the job. It    wasn’t  long till  I became  a foreman.  I might  have been the tenth or    twelfth choice after guys like Sid, but I always said yes when a job was    offered to me.  After I made a few mistakes and learned from them, I was    on  supervisory  all the time.  And  in them days there was lots of work    sub-contracting  at  Stelco  and  Dofasco  and  Pigott  Construction  in    Hamilton.  One  of  the  things  I’m  proudest  of  is  I worked  on the    Burlington  Skyway Bridge in 1956 and my son Gary worked on the twinning    bridge in 1986.

          It was pretty lively in them years the family was growing up.  When    I  started being  a carpenter  I was  playing  for  and  coaching  Lefty    Jordan’s Hamilton Lincoln Burners,  and later I helped get the Brantford    Warriors  going.  When the  boys started  playing organized  lacrosse it    really got hectic.  I remember in the sixties when Gaylord was living in    Oshawa  and  playing  for  the  Green Gaels  and  Gary  was  playing for    Long Branch.  One game  I’d go watch Gary at Long Branch and Wilma would    drive  on to  Oshawa  to watch  Gaylord.  The  next game we might switch    cities.  It  wasn’t long  till  Greg  and Harry  began  playing for Port    Credit.  And  then  there were the hockey games and all the practices on    top of that.

            Wilma and I racked up a lot of miles in them years.  And a lot of    stats.  I still  got stats  lying  around  the  house from every game we    watched.  I could  tell  you  who played a good game on any given day in    any given  year way back,  how many draws he got,  who he lost a draw to    and who  was  the  best centreman to watch.  My daughter Gail got really    good  at  keeping  stats  for me and I really depended on her when I was    coaching.

              Wilma’s no slouch with stats either.  I don’t know which one of    them  it was,  coulda  been the Landoni  brothers or Jack Bionda or Tony    Damico.  I  coached  Tony in  Hamilton, named one of the boys after him.    Whoever it  was he  asked Wilma why she stopped having kids after we had    thirteen. Wilma  told  him she’d been reading a Statistics Canada report    about  the  time our  youngest  child Jacqueline was born.  She said she    knew  she had to stop after she read that every fourteenth child born in    Canada was Italian.

            It’s nice having a big family and we’re proud of every one of our    kids. At first, thought, I gotta admit I was kinda worried about Gaylord    not  that  he started  out  on the  wrong foot exactly  more like in the    wrong net.  Gaylord was  five years old and he was playing in this first    lacrosse game,  thrilled  as could be.  He got  the ball in front of his    owen net and somebody hollered, Shoot!  Even then, Gaylord scored goals.

    Too bad it has to be on his own goalie.

            I never had Gaylord’s finesse as a player.  A lot of people think    I coached  him a lot  but I only  coached him  one year, in Rochester in    1969,  after  he’d become  an established  player.  The coach who really    brought him along was Jimmy Bishop.  Actually, Bishop had to bring him a    long ways, all along the Lakeshore to be exact.

             At that time you had to get a release form if you wanted to play    for  any junior  team other  than  the one  closest  to  your  home.  In    Gaylord’s case,  Bishop had  to get  ten release forms, one from Guelph,    one from St.Catharines and  eight from Toronto area teams to get Gaylord    to Oshawa.I guess Bishop found some sort of loophole in the constitution    after one of his players broke a leg during the season.

            Gaylord was only seventeen at the time and he’d never even seen a    junior game. I took him to Long Branch and he seen a game against Oshawa    During  the game I asked him if he thought he could play in that league.    When he said,  Sure,  I can play in this league,  that  settled  it.  We    talked  to Bishop  and two hours later Gaylord was on his way to Oshawa.    After Gaylord  started proving himself,  the ten teams said they’d never    be another Powless waved across the Lakeshore.

             It was an honour and a priviledge for Gaylord to play for Bishop    on four  Minto Cup teams.  Bishop  created a dynasty.  He  recruited the    best  young  players  in  small  towns  in Ontario  and he  taught  them    discipline  and conditioning.   And respect.   Had them  riding in buses    instead of cars, wearing team jackets and ties.  It was high class stuff    for Gaylord.

            But it could still get rough on the floor,  One year in the Minto    Cup  playoffs  in  New  Westminster,  Gaylord tangled with three of them    Salmonbellies.   One   guy  cut  him  for  ten  stiches  in  the  mouth.    Cross-checked him but good. It was deliberate, the guy was trying to put    him out of the game.  Blood’s pouring from Gaylord’s mouth when two more    Salmonbellies  attack  him  from behind.  Gaylord turned around and spit    blood in their faces.  Then the fight was really on!  Them Salmonbellies    were gone for the game and Gaylord got a total of seven minutes.  Oshawa    won the game by one goal.  And the Minto Cup.

            Gaylord met some fine people through lacrosse.  Like in 1968, the    year  he played pro  lacrosse with Bill and Jim Squires down in Detroit,    he met Gordie Howe.  Gaylord skated with Gordie when the ice was in, and    when it was out, Gaylord taught him how to play lacrosse.  Gordie was an    amazing  athlete and a fine man.  He told Gaylord he’d seen lacrosse out    in  Saskatchewan  but he’d never  had the  chance to play the game.  The    first week Gordie started off a right-handed player.  By the second week    he was switching hands as if he’d been doing it for years. After a month    he could  throw the ball  from one end of the floor to the other and hit    the net with either hand.

              Geordie Howe and I are both lucky guys in one respect.  We were    still playing the games we loved when our sons were grown up and playing    too.  I only played against Gaylord once.  It was  in 1967.  Gaylord had    played  at Expo  that  year when a  Canadian  Indian  team  defeated  an    American  Indian  team.  He  was  twenty-one and I was forty-one.  I was    playing for the Hagersville Warriors and Gaylord was playing a few games    with  the  Oshawa Steelers.  The  game was in Whitby.  There was a loose    ball behind the Hagersville net. Gaylord went for the ball and I stepped    in and  checked him with  my shoulder, right into his midsection.   Some    people  say  I knocked him out,  I don’t know.  I heard him say once, it    was  the hardest hit he remembers.  All I know is I thought he was going    to hit me  and it was better him than me. I figured if he he’d knocked me    flying, I’d never live it down and I couldn’t have that.

              That was my last season as a player.  But I still coached for a    number  of  years.  I was never to liberal with praise as a coach.  If a    player did somthing right, I might muss up his hair or something when he    came  back to  the bench,  but the only time  I’d  say  much  if he  did    something  wrong.  Maybe  my boys never  knew it,  but one of my biggest    thrills  was coaching six of them on one team at a North American Indian    Lacrosse tournament.

                I’m not doing anything in lacrosse these days, just going and    wathching my grandchildren.  Got tweny of them now and I’m just thankful    to be here to watch them grow up. I hurt myself at work a few years ago,    slipped  down some  stairs and hit my lumbar disc three times on the way    down.  I went  to a rehab. centre in Toronto and after what I seen there    I’m  grateful  I only  wear  a leg brace to keep my foot straight when I    walk.

               I have to do a fair bit of walking as the housing inspector on    Six Nations.  I like this job.   It’s  a lot better  than getting ulcers    being  a band  administrator.  Every year  I’d  just get used to the new    forms and Indian Affairs would change them on me.  And them meetings day    and night were getting to be too much.

              As housing inspector I start early in the winter and suggest to    people  who want  to build that they get hydro permits and field layouts    for their  septic  systems first.  After they decide where they’re gonna    build,  I suggest they keep their lane away from the fence lines because    in the  winter the  lines act as a snowfence and every little wind comes    up,  you’ve got youself a plugged lane to deal with.  I suggest where to    put their  well  to  get good drinking  water  and  we  talk  about  the    elevation  of the house,  that’s always  important.  I always suggest to    the womenfolks that they have their kitchen in the east and their living    room  in the  south to make the best use of solar power.  And as for the    wommenfolk  and bay windows,  well,  I tell them the only advantage to a    lady having  a bay window  is so she can run and see who drove by.  They    get  a kick  out of  that,  but  the truth is some people just don’t use    common sense.  You lose so much heat with them bay windows.

                  It’s worth working all week just so I can go hunting on the    weekend  with my sons  and my  sons-in-law and my neighbours.  Gives the    women  some time to themselves too. It’s about the only exercise Gaylord    gets, seeing he’s on compensation right now for his bad back.  The thing    is  when Gaylord  and I get out hunting we don’t think about those kinds    of things.  It’s not  till  we’re home  on the couch or in a comfortable    chair ya know how tired and stiff ya are.

               I got two bird dogs, Lady and George.  I just love Lady. She’s    an eleven-year-old  Springer  and George is a young Brittany.  Every six    days Lady  seems to know we’ve been resting long enough and I’m gonna be    opening  the trunk  of the  car and putting in the guns and the thermos.    The  dogs go so  wild when  they hear them bells I put on their collars.    They seem like little kids and it kinda makes me feel a bit younger too.    But  the  main reason  I take Lady is when I come in early, I can always    tell the boys it was because Lady got tuckered out.

          I like hunting because you have to use a lot of common sense.  Like    when you’re looking for a rabbit, you know when it’s just left the hole,    it takes  short hops  while it watches for owls and hawks.  Then when it    gets  its belly full and hears something, a rabbit bounds to safety with    powerful jumps.  I like hunting birds best.   Percentage-wise  you don’t    get as many birds as you do animals on the ground. Birds are so fast and    they have  so many ways of eluding you.  It’s more of a challenge to hit    a partridge than a rabbit.

                One day this winter I shot a bird and knocked a rooster down.    George,  that’s my Brittany,  not one of my sons,  went  and got it with    Lady hot on his tail.  George got overeager and dropped the bird.  Lady,    she’s kinda possessive and likes to please me so much, she tried to pick    it up .  Well,  George  wasn’t  gonna  have none of that.  He grabbed it    again.  Seemed  like the  two  of them talked it over a bit.  Finally, I    seen  the two of them come  up from the  little creek bed  over the bank    with  the bird in  their mouths.  What a  team!  Them  dogs  taught me a    valueble lesson that day, one I’d like to pass on to everyone in Fergus:    a bird in the mouth of two dogs is better than a bird in the bush.

              Wilma told me I’d know when to stop this here speech.  She said    the banquet guests would start reaching for stale dinner buns.   I’m not    gonna push my luck in Fergus. What’s that?  Who was the geatest lacrosse    player I ever played with or against?  Well,  first of all,  there is no    best  lacrosse player.  But if it was possible to get a team of just one    type of player,  and not wanting to  hurt Gaylord’s  feelings or to make    Johnny Davis  feel bad or  Donny McPhail  or  Ikey Hildebrandt  or Roger    Smith,  Roger’d be right at the top for sure,  or Willie Logan, I’d have    to pick Jack Bionda.  Of course, that’s a much different era from today,    and us old lacrosse warriors,  every time we get together,  the older we  get the better we was

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