As our interview team conducted dozens of interviews across Canada over the last 4 years one name kept popping up – Jim Bishop. Bishop is one of the most well-known names in the game. He is deceased, but his influence and work lives on.
We have put together a number of former players and coaches who knew him to discuss the lacrosse life of one of Canada’s most important contributors to the game. He was involved with lacrosse for 58 years, making his mark as coach and builder of the game in Ontario and throughout Canada. Jim began coaching minor lacrosse in Toronto in 1946 and in 1957 he founded the Huntsville Minor Lacrosse Association.
One of his greatest accomplishments was building the Oshawa Junior A Green Gaels – the legendary lacrosse organization that competed in and won 7 consecutive Minto Cups. This record of 7 consecutive titles from 1963 to 1969 has not been equalled since and likely won’t be matched. Bishop was involved in establishing the initial National Lacrosse League in 1968 and coached the Detroit Olympics.
In 1969, Jim also went to work in Pro Hockey with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. He served as a vice-president of the team for 4 years. In 1974, Jim was instrumental in establishing the NLL again for a 2 year period. During that time, he was the Coach and General Manager for the Toronto Tomahawks and then the coach of the Montreal Quebecois.
He became the first Technical Director of the Canadian Lacrosse Association in 1978. In 1997 he won his 8th Minto Cup as a coach. Bishop is a winner of the Lester B. Pearson Award from the Canadian Lacrosse Association for excellence in lacrosse. In 1969 he was inducted into both the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
He did countless clinics for both players and coaches across the country. He wanted to teach Canadians the proper way to play the game he loved. He also established a company to distribute lacrosse equipment across Canada which assisted in the development of the sport.
Bishop’s greatness was his vision for the whole sport. He built systems into the game that were ahead of their time and made his players work hard to be skilled enough to execute these systems. He freely shared his knowledge and approach to the game and was instrumental in helping to expand the game to all provinces in the country. His story is one everyone in the lacrosse community, young or old, should learn.