by Jamie Scott


September 15, 2017, marks the 40th anniversary of Burnaby Cablevision’s historic Minto Cup victory in Whitby, Ontario. The Minto Cup, emblematic of Junior ‘A’ lacrosse supremacy in Canada, is said to be one of the toughest championships to win in the sport. For BC teams, it is even tougher to win when the Minto Cup is played in Ontario. The Minto Cup has historically alternated between Ontario and British Columbia and the host rotation now includes Alberta.

While BC teams have won the Minto Cup championship nine times since Burnaby’s 1977 victory, incredibly, no BC team since, has been able to capture the Cup when the championship has been played in Ontario. Over that 40 year span, numerous BC teams have come home from Ontario empty-handed including powerhouse teams such as the Victoria-Esquimalt Legion of the late 1980’s, led by twin superstars Gary and Paul Gait, the five-time Minto Cup champion Burnaby Lakers of the late 1990’s/early 2000’s and, most recently, the Coquitlam Adanacs, who have represented BC in seven of the past eight Minto Cup finals.

Adding to the significance of Burnaby’s 1977 accomplishment is the fact that, prior to that series, the last BC team to capture the Minto Cup, when played in Ontario, was the 1953 New Westminster Salmonacs.

The 1977 Burnaby Cablevision team is, arguably, the greatest Junior ‘A’ lacrosse team to hail from British Columbia. The club went 27-1 in the regular season and scored an amazing 579 goals, an average of 20.68 goals per game. They defeated the New Westminster Salmonbellies 4 games to 1 to capture the Western Canadian Major Junior ‘A’ Championship. In Ontario, Burnaby dropped the first two games of the Minto Cup before storming back to win the next four games to defeat the Ontario champion Whitby Builders.

Burnaby went on to win three consecutive Minto Cups (1977, 1978, and 1979); a feat no other BC team has accomplished since the Minto Cup became the Canadian Junior Lacrosse Championship in 1937.

The team was built by its General Manager, the late Jack Crosby, a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and coached by Dan Mattinson, who led the team from 1974 to 1984. Following the 1977 victory, Mattinson said “we had a team meeting after the second game where we talked about the need to focus on scoring goals and playing defense, instead of arguing penalties and interference calls. There were other adjustments, as well, but once we realized we were the better all-around team, we never looked back. Not to say it was easy; we dug ourselves a hole and needed to focus on our team strengths to get out of it. Speed, along with defense, turned the series around for us. We had the fire power and goaltending to win.”

The 1977 Burnaby Cablevision team was inducted into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the 1977-79 Minto Cup winning teams were inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2009. In addition to Jack Crosby in the Builder Category, four members of the 1977 team have been inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in the Player Category: Rod Banister, Eric Cowieson, Dan Perreault, and Dan Wilson.

The team will reunite on September 23, 2017, for a golf tournament and barbeque, where they will look back at their accomplishments and celebrate their historic Minto Cup victory.

Questions: Please contact Timm Williams at timm@timmwilliams.com