J. Thomas English, the western commissioner of the National Lacrosse Association, got his start in the game the way most people get their start in any sport, as a youngster firing the ball against the wall of the local lacrosse box in Victoria.
He came up through the ranks in Victoria, had an outstanding junior career then played with the Victoria Shamrocks in 1959 and 1960. In 1961 he went to Vancouver Carlings where he helped the Vancouver team to two Mann Cup champions before retiring to his law studies.
English returned to the game last season as general manager of Vancouver and provided the managerial leadership that helped Carlings to the Canadian championship. When it came time to pick a commissioner for the new NLA professional lacrosse set-up, English was the unanimous choice of all teams in the league.
English is presently an assistant professor of law at the University of British Columbia. He is a barrister and solicitor and hold Bachelor of commerce and Bachelor of Law degrees from UBC and a Master of Law degree from Harvard.
The 30-year-old English is married and has two children. He is a fine example of the young, progressive out-look of professional lacrosse and a man whose energy has made the western division of the NLA a reality instead of simply a dream.
A Message from the Commissioner
There is no question whatsoever that the 1968 season is the most important in the history of the game of box lacrosse. Consider what has happened.
For a period of 30 years the playing and spectator enjoyment of box lacrosse has been confined to two relatively small geographical area on the North American continent—eastern Ontario and the lower mainland of British Columbia.
Then in a matter of months in 1968 the following events occurred:
* An eight-team professional league called the National Lacrosse Association with an eastern and western division was created.
* The game expanded into the United States with the establishment of teams in Detroit and Portland with the cities of New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle definitely interested in joining thr NLA in 1969.
* New rules were adopted to ensure that the game is played intended by its modern founders.
* And [sic] Inter-locking schedule was established so that all the fans in the NLA are assured of seeing the best players in the world.
* And each of the cities in the league acquired first class facilities in which to play their games.
All of the above has occurred for one reason only—the knowledge and belief by the executive of the National Lacrosse Association and by the management of its member teams that box lacrosse is a great game which ranks with the top sporting attractions in the world. As to whether this is so, we cannot judge—only the fans can.
It is therefore to the sporting fan who is watching his first games of box lacrosse that I, on behalf of the National Lacrosse Association, extend my welcome with the sincere hope that he becomes an advocate of the game as we are.
J. Thomas English,
National Lacrosse Association
(from Vancouver Carlings 1968 game program)