Throwback Thursday: The American Lacrosse League

Photo: American Lacrosse League                                                                                              

Today in 2019, the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) just ended their inaugural season, and the  Major League Lacrosse (MLL) is in their nineteenth season and will host their championship weekend this weekend from October 4th-6th in Denver. Across the lacrosse world, many view these leagues as the first American pro field lacrosse leagues, but that is just false.  Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: The American Lacrosse League”

Throwback Thursday: 1941 Harvard-Navy Game

Photo Courtesy of Harvard Archives                                                                                                                

Throwback Thursday is a weekly series that dives into various topics from the past including players, games, seasons, and much more. 

The 1941 Harvard Crimson lacrosse team was nothing special, going 2-10 overall with their only wins coming against MIT and Tufts. However, goalie George H. Hanford earned second team All-America honors for the Crimson. 

While the Crimson’s 1941 campaign was nothing spectacular, it was indeed one of the most historic because of one game in particular – the infamous Harvard-Navy game. 

On April 4th, 1941, Harvard traveled to Navy to face the Midshipmen. While Navy blew them out 12-0 it wasn’t the events on the field that made the headlines, but the events off the field helped shape history. Prior to the game, the Naval Academy superintendent told Harvard that they would not play the game due to the fact that Harvard had one black player, Lucien Alexis Jr.

The Harvard players and head coach Dick Snibbe initially voted to forfeit the game, but Harvard athletic director William J. Bingham ordered coach Snibbe to send Alexis home. Alexis did go home but according to a quote from his daughter in an L.A. Times article, “my father, quietly, caught the night train back to Cambridge, telling the team it was his idea.”

The reaction to the situation and how the Harvard team and Alexis was treated quickly heated up. The Harvard Crimson picked up the story, followed by newspapers in Boston and New York. The administration at both Navy and Harvard were both heavily criticized by the majority of the media. 

In response to the outcry, Harvard athletic director William J. Bingham told the Harvard Crimson, “We were guests of the Naval Academy and had no choice in the matter. Had the game been played at Cambridge, I would have insisted that he be allowed to participate.” Harvard also stated that they would never tolerate racial discrimination against its student athletes again. 

One week after that game against Navy, Harvard traveled to face Army and the reception they received was much different than at Navy. A cordon of cheering cadets, led by many African-American cadets welcomed Alexis and his Harvard teammates to West Point. The Crimson would go on to lose 12-1 in that contest. 

The news of that Harvard-Navy game made its way to the White House and president Franklin D. Roosevelt. In June 1941, two months after the Harvard-Navy game, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 that prohibited racial discrimination in the defense industry. Multiple historians have noted that the Harvard-Navy game incident was a key incident that pressured Roosevelt to sign the order. 

Lucien Alexis Jr. went on to serve in World War II and later returned to Harvard to get his business degree and later served as head of a New Orleans business college for black students, segregated by state law. 


Throwback Thursday: Highest Scoring Game In NLL History

Tracey Kelusky taking contact in a game with Montreal (Photo: Pepe)                                                    

Throwback Thursday is a weekly series that dives into various topics from the past including players, games, seasons, and much more. 

The 2001-2002 season welcomed four expansion teams into the league: the New Jersey Storm, Montreal Express, Vancouver Ravens, and Calgary Roughnecks. Two of those teams, one of which is still in existence, took part in this historic game that saw the most goals in a game and by one team in NLL history. 

On November 24th, 2001 the Montreal Express traveled to the Calgary Roughnecks in both franchise’s inaugural games. The game turned out to be a very lopsided affair as Montreal routed Calgary 32-17, and in-part rewrote the NLL record books. The 32 goals by Montreal is the most by a team in a single game and the 49 combined goals are the most in a single game, as well. 

In addition to the scoring, the 155 penalty minutes between the two teams also broke the record for most penalty minutes in a single game. This was also the first NLL game in Calgary, so it truly was a very historic game nonetheless. 

In the game, John Kilbride scored twenty-two seconds in, recording the first goal in franchise history for Calgary. Montreal scored just a few minutes later to get their first goal in franchise history, as well. Both teams traded goals for the early part of the first, but Montreal soon exploded and never looked back. Tracey Kelusky and the Montreal Express simply turned on the jets and burned the Roughnecks. 

Montreal held a 10-3 lead heading into the second, and while Calgary certainly started to put up more of a fight Montreal was able to hold onto and grow their lead. They held a 23-16 lead at the end of the third and continued to pile on in the fourth, winning 32-17. 

As in many similar cases, tempers started to flare with the score being so lopsided and plenty of penalties were given out throughout the game. In total, Montreal received twenty-one penalties for 72 minutes, while Calgary was assessed fifteen penalties for 83 minutes.

No stats are available from this game you can read the full game report here.