By NEIL ANDERSEN
Journal Sports Writer
Maybe it’s not exactly a “love-in.”
But, according to Mike Gates, it’s a learn and love thing.
The “thing” Gates is talking about is lacrosse and he’s a tough man to argue with.
For one thing, Gates is 6-2 and weighs 180 pounds.
For another thing, he was the league’s all-star defenseman in 1966 and the most valuable player. Two years ago, he was the Western Division scoring champ.
And the lanky Gates hasn’t shown any signs of letting up.
With 7 games under his belt, Pearly (what else did you expect?) has 25 points on 8 goals and 17 assists.
That’s good enough to lead the Western Division.
“Lacrosse is basically an easy game to understand, particularly if you understand hockey and basketball. Many play patterns are essentially the same.
“It’s hard for fans of any sport to understand everything that is going on in the field—the play patterns and ball finesse—until they’ve had the opportunity to watch a few games,” added the 28-year old.
That’s why Gates is set on the “Learn and Love” theory.
“It’s the fans who make the game,” said the eight-year veteran. “When fans are clapping and cheering, it creates a great atmosphere for competition. The Portland fans have been great so far, but the more fans, the more noise in the stands.”
Gates, who ambles like a new born deer, may be bombarded with noise this weekend when the Adanacs face New Westminster Friday and Victoria Saturday in Memorial Coliseum.
The presence of Jack Bionda, on of lacrosse’s all-time greats, and Tommy McVie, a one-time teammate of Bionda’s with the Portland Buckaroos, should act as a stimulant to local crowds.
But, until Bionda and McVie work themselves into top shape, Adanac fans can cheer for Gates, who may one day rival Bionda.
Gates had a career record of 525 points (280 goals and 245 assists) to start the seasons…in only 173 games. His scoring title was forged on 46 goals and 56 assists.
Gates broke into lacrosse with New Westminster before joining the Adanacs in 1964. Coach Gordie Gimple switched Gates from forward to defense, and the change was obvious.
What about the Salmonbellies Friday night?
“I’m a positive thinker—we’ll beat ‘em,” quipped Gates.
(Oregon Journal, June 6, 1968)