Players Badly Cut Up in Introductory Tilt Before 9,000 at Garden


Seven men, wielding heavy sticks as a butcher does his cleaver, chased seven all over the Garden floor last night.

That, roughly speaking, is box lacrosse.

The solid rubber ball that was in play seemed only incidental, and might have easily been dispensed with at all times, so completely did the players disregard it to prod and hack at each other.

But as it was put on at the Garden last night, box lacrosse as a game held little more than the promise of modified murder.  And, after hearing the crowd stamp for more sustained action late in the evening, one thinks that even cold-blooded gangster murders, could they be brought from the east side into the Garden arena by ingenious promoters, would pall on this calloused fandom.

A Fistic Display

The game was only 12 minutes old when Toots White of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Joe Smithson of the Canadiens squared off in the evening’s first fight.  There were many more bloody gashes and battered faces suffered after that, and several players were carried off unconscious.

In between, while the 9,000 teetered on the edges of their seats at the prospect of cloven skulls and dismembered bodies, various and sundry goals were shot.  Montreal made 9 and the rougher, more villainous Toronto slashers only 7, which is the way they keep score in these battles, rather than by the casualties.

[view Pathé footage of the game here]

Players Gauge Shouts

Down in the Montreal dressing room afterward, Jules Brossard, one of the Canadiens’ star defense men, slumped back on his bench, his legs sprawled before him, gashed and bloody.

“Nothing,” he explained, in broken English.  “That happens all the time.  But only flesh wounds, those are.”

Kelly DeGray was over in the corner looking as if he had left half his elbow in some corner of the Garden dasher, and Al Vincent had a welt over his eye like a ripe pear.

“A big crowd,” continued Brossard, asking for a program as a souvenir.  “And they shouted a lot, too.  It is more than we usually have in Montreal.  There about 5,000 people come to see the games.”

The shouting apparently is a lacrosse player’s barometer of public fancy.  And certainly the Garden roared at times last night if at other times things were ominously quiet.  Perhaps the fans were just holding their breath.

“Tougher than hockey?” pondered Brossard, who is quite a star of both.  “No,” he said, reaching for another bottle of soda pop which is also the hockey player’s weird antidote for a bruising night on skates, “I’d say there were more bumps on the ice.”

The bumps are harder in hockey, no doubt, because of the greater speed and impact.  But no hockey player could hope to keep out of the penalty coop if he carried his stick in the fashion of a combination crowbar, blackjack and rapier that the lacrosse boys do.

If it’s blood you want, forget the advertised prize fights and sit in on this grand old Indian pastime, which somehow is strangely reminiscent of the days when early colonists were wont to lose their heads in forays with the redskins.  That couldn’t have been so much different.

(Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 11, 1932)

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