Legends of the Game

In the fourteenth edition of “Legends of the Game” I have found an article on Alan Lewthwaite. The article is from the inaugural program of the Boston Bolts of the Original National Lacrosse League circa 1975.

“Just tell them that big Al is coming to Boston”, Boston Bolts top draft pick Alan Lewthwaite commented upon hearing of his selection by the local NLL entry as their top selection in the February player draft.

A native of New Westminster, British Columbia, Lewthwaite toiled for the past six seasons with the Salmon Bellies of his native New Westminster and the Western Lacrosse Association.

“I don’t think that you could consider me a big goal scorer, but I got my share through the years. If a guy is open up front I’ve got to hit him,” says Lewthwaite. Remember, an assist is worth the same as a goal. Last season the Western Canadian Superstar connected for 82 points on 27 goals and 55 assists.

The Bolts’ coaching staff expects more of the same in Boston.

“From an offensive point of view, we feel as if Al should have his biggest year ever. He’s so big and strong that the points just have to come. As a player, I played against Lewthwaite and was tremendously impressed with the power behind his shot and most importantly, how quick he got it away”, managing director Bob Hanna commented as he watched the Green and Gold go through the rigors of an early season workout.

“Before the summer is over a lot of people are going to be comparing Lewthwaite’s abilities to that of his hockey counterpart Bobby Orr of the National Hockey League Boston Bruins’ Bolts winger Stan Cox promised.

The word from the West is that the 24 year old is equally adept in the defensive department. “It’s going to be a lot tougher in the National Lacrosse League than it was out West,” Lewthwaite concedes. “There are so many talented players with the ball that you’ve always got to be on your toes. I’ve seen a lot of the guys far out West but I hear that Rick Dudley and Paul Suggate are pretty tough cookies. Confidence is half the battle. That I’ve got”, he adds.The 6’3”, 230 pound defenseman comes to the Bolts and the National Lacrosse League with impressive credentials. “He is absolutely the most physically intimidating player that I’ve ever seen”, teammate Brian Davidson commented following a recent Boston Garden practice session.

That impression is exactly Lewthwaite’s goal every time he gets on the floor.”I don’t back down from anybody … period. You can’t in this game. I’m not a policeman, but there are those times when you’ve got to take someone to the cleaners to give your club the upperhand”, the burly rearguard says.

A testimony to the force behind a Lewthwaite check is his selection of sticks for a night’s battle. The Bolts giant utilizes sledge hammer handles in molding the shaft of his sticks. “I find a normal stick that I like and fiberglass it to the sledge shaft” Lewthwaite explained.Lewthwaite is delighted by the prospect of playing pro lacrosse. “I think that the switch over to full fledged professionalism should be a tremendous boost to an already great game. For the first time we as players can really dedicate ourselves to the game.”

“The National Lacrosse League is a super operation”, he adds. “We’ve been treated first class from the opening of training camp. I’ll tell you, there was some awfully keen competition at the camp in Peterborough. There is no doubt in mind that our club is something that the people of this great sports town can easily relate to. This is a club that if it stays healthy will give the Nations Trophy Championship a real shot”.

For Al Lewthwaite the search for the limelight could be natural. For an athlete of his size, his coordinated skill with the stick as a quick hard hitting defenseman is remarkable.

He is a man to watch.

From the Canadian Lacrosse Association…

Lewthwaite developed his box lacrosse skills in the Royal City’s Sapperton district, but by age 15 he was considered too big to continue playing at the juvenile level. Instead, he lined up with the New Westminster Junior B team that captured the 1966 Canadian championship in Port Arthur. With the Senior A Salmonbellies in 1967-he was not yet 17 years old-he scored two goals. After the 1968 Minto Cup series, he played a pivotal role in the Salmonbellies National Lacrosse Association professional championship victory over Detroit. In 1969 Lewthwaite was 6’3″, 230-lbs, fleet of foot, a deadly shooter, a natural playmaker and rib-crunching checker. At the age of 18, he became a permanent member of the Senior Salmonbellies, registering 87 points in his first 27 games. Between 1970 and 1974, Lewthwaite and his teammates captured three Mann Cups in four trips to the Canadian championships. In 1975, the upstart pro National Lacrosse League team in Boston drafted Lewthwaite in the first round, but traded him to the Long Island Tomahawks where he accumulated 140 points in 47 games; however, he also seriously injured his knee. After one season as co-coach of a Senior B team, he took over the coaching reins for the Salmonbellies in 1978. Over the next 21 years, Lewthwaite held similar positions with Coquitlam, Richmond, Burnaby and Maple Ridge.

Alan Lewthwaite was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1991.

A short video from the “Lacrosse Legends” YouTube channel on Alan Lewthwaite and his career

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