Baseball’s Leo Durocher once declared “Nice guys finish last”.
Obviously, the scrappy Durocher was eluding to the wrong sport for, in the rough and tumble world of lacrosse, a class act like Bruce Turris can top any list for integrity and yet still come out triumphant on or off the playing floor.
Former Western Lacrosse Association Ted Fridge once observed, “Bruce is a quiet, solid, family man. I can only find one word to describe him and that word is gentleman”.
Born on July 23, 1958, Bruce spent countless hours as a youngster pounding a ball against the boards of the New Westminster’s Moody Box teaching himself to shoot both right and left-handed. Encouragement was always there: from his dad, Clare, his biggest fan and a Royal City minor lacrosse official, and uncle Eugene, a top Junior “A” star during the mid-1950’s.
Bruce worked his way through the New Westminster and Burnaby Minor lacrosse systems, joining the Junior Salmonbellies in 1976. Three years later, he joined the Burnaby Cablevision dynasty for his last year of junior eligibility. With teammates that included John Swan, , , , Lyle Robinson, and , Burnaby defeated Peterborough Centurions for the 1979 Minto Cup championship.
With 268 points during his four-year, 102-game junior career, Bruce was drafted to play with the Vancouver Burrards, a stay that stretched over the next ten years. Then, in 1990, Bruce decided he wanted an opportunity to play with his longtime friend before retirement and requested a trade to the Coquitlam Adanacs. The move added another five years to his playing life.
He spent several seasons wearing the captain’s “C” for both clubs.
It was a glorious 15-year, 414-game career – 334 goals and 548 assists for 882 points which places him twenty-second on the all-time WLA scoring list. He was named to the All-Star team four times (three times to the First team) and won the coveted Maitland Trophy in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1988 for his outstanding play, his sportsmanship, and his contribution to minor lacrosse.
An outstanding centreman, Bruce won 1,627 of 3,045 faceoffs for a 53.4 successful percentage.
Bruce was never content merely basking in the lacrosse spotlight as a player; he felt he must give something back to the game as a teacher and inspiration for young hopefuls. He spent countless hours coaching minor teams and organizing and conducting clinics. One instructional clinic, for example, was held over an Easter school break in 1986 that attracted 110 youngsters; the clinic netted over $1,100 which was donated to St. Thomas More Collegiate high school to aid in construction of a new science facility.
But, for Bruce, there was more to life than playing lacrosse. After completing his Master’s degree in economics at Simon Fraser University, he was hired by the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and was soon placed in charge of the Canadian halibut fishery industry. Following his retirement from lacrosse, Bruce also left the DFO and became a highly sought-after consultant. Recently, he was a guest speaker at an international fishery conference in Perth, Australia.
Entering the millennium, Bruce is still involved in minor sports, helping coach 10-year-olds – including son Kyle – in lacrosse and hockey.
Stepping out of the spotlight of a star player hasn’t shadowed Bruce’s perception of life – the future shines brightly.