Hugh Gifford, like most of lacrosse players of his time, was robbed of the satisfaction of knowing exactly how many goals and assists he gathered during his long career with New Westminster amateur and professional lacrosse clubs.

But, as he did with the majority of irritations of life, Hugh merely shrugged his shoulders, uttered a choice word or two, and then forgot about it. For Hugh was that type of an individual – a character with a gruff exterior but a soft heart.

The Gifford name is interwoven within the colourful history of New Westminster. Hugh was born in the Royal City on May 29, 1892, the son of jeweler Thomas Gifford. The senior Gifford was New Westminster’s representative to the legislature in Victoria for fourteen years.

Hugh was one of five sons – Bill, Tom, Jimmy, Hugh and Jack, in that order – born to the Giffords.

In 1910, Hugh Gifford achieved what every Royal City youngster of that era wished for – a spot on the New Westminster Salmonbellies lacrosse club. Here he remained for fifteen years, building a reputation as a determined, powerful stalwart on defence.

Lacrosse was Hugh’s game but not his entire life. Hugh knew little of the game of basketball, but nevertheless, it was the likeable tough guy who ended up as coach of a newly formed hoopla club dubbed the New Westminster Adanacs. Naturally with a Gifford standing by, the Adanacs just had to take up the game of lacrosse, too.

But it was brother Jim who ended up handling the reins of the lacrosse Adanacs. Hugh, with gruff Jimmy Gunn as a partner, took up the necessary, but unloved chores of refereeing.

Hugh Gifford was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1969, joining brothers Jimmy (charter) and Tom (1966).

Hugh died on March 22, 1966.

Related Images: