Legends of the Game

BOB SAVAGE

In the twenty-second edition of legends of the Game , we look at Brampton Excelsiors great Bob Savage.

The articles come from two sources.  The first article is:

Great Excelsior Lacrosse Series by Mark Evans, from the Legends Series Volume XI Commemorative Program from 2011.

Bob was one of Brampton’s all-time star goaltenders. Bob began his playing career at the age of 8 in 1946 in the inaugural season of the Brampton Minor Lacrosse Association, as the goalie for “Savage’s Terriers” in the Novice Division

Games at that time were played outdoors at Brampton’s famous Rose Bowl, a great box lacrosse facility at the end of Nelson Street at Union (where the Brampton tennis courts are currently situated). A great thrill for all the young kids, Bob fondly recalls his mother taking him to the Rose Bowl to watch his Dad “Duke” Savage play goal. Bob continued to play through the various age divisions of Brampton Minor Lacrosse from 1946 to 1955, winning MVP in the Pee Wee and Juvenile divisions.

By the early ’50’s, games had been moved indoors to the newly erected Brampton Memorial Arena on Elliott Street. Bob began his 5-years with the Brampton Jr. A Excelsiors in 1955 and was one of six players to play on all 3 consecutive Minto Cup Championship teams, 1957 through 1959. Bob recalls that one of his favourite experiences during this period was travelling by rail to Trail and Victoria BC as defending champions where we capped off a perfect playoff 12 and 0 record to become the 1958 Minto Cup champions. A great trip through western Canada, as a member of one of the best junior teams ever.”

Bob began his Sr. A lacrosse career in 1960 and played on the 1961 Excelsior Mann Cup finalist team. At the time, the local newspaper commented that Bob was “a proven playoff performer, and one of Brampton’s most colourful goalies, possessing a cat-like quality guarding the net, while contributing offensively with his accurate passing to a streaking team-mate and his ability to occasionally take off with the ball, creating an extra man.”

Bob’s many achievements have been recognized in many ways. In 1989, Bob was honoured as a lifetime member of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club. In 2008, he was inducted as a member of the first team inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame as a player on the 1957-1959 Brampton Junior Excelsiors.

Today, living in Stratford, Bob fondly remembers his former teammates and the lifelong friendships through his association with the Excelsiors. He also recalls some of his favourite players on other teams that he respected including Bob Davidson and Brian Ahearne from the Long Branch Monarchs and Gary Moore from the St. Catharines Athletics. He also expressed his “appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all personnel, past, present and future for their unselfish contribution to the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, the longest continuing amateur sports franchise in Canada, EXCELSIORS FOREVER.”

The second article comes from the Brampton Guardian…May 3, 2012.

Bob Savage was a prominent Brampton athlete in hockey, lacrosse and baseball. He was a goalie for the Brampton Minor Hockey Association (BMHA) from 1948 – 1954, winning the Ontario Peewee Championship in 1948 and the Ontario Midget ‘A’ Championship in 1954. From 1955-1959, Bob played Halton County Senior Baseball; known for his defensive abilities when playing shortstop and outfield. In 1956, he won the Ontario Intermediate “AA” Baseball Championship. He also played lacrosse as a goalie for the Brampton Excelsiors at the Junior ‘A’ level from 1957 – 1959 and at the Major level from 1960 – 1961. Bob won the Canadian Lacrosse Association, Minto Cup Championship for three consecutive years in 1957, 1958 and 1959. In 1961, Bob won the Major Eastern Division Championship.
Bob played Junior ‘B’ and Junior ‘A’ hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. He was the number one goalie on all three Minto Cup champion teams. Bob also played in goal for both sports – Junior ‘A’ and Senior ‘A’ hockey and lacrosse, which is a difficult and very rare accomplishment. Some of Bob’s special awards and recognition obtained included: 1951 – 1952 Brampton Minor Hockey Association Ontario Representative MVP, 1956 St. Michaels Majors Junior ‘A’ most shutouts, 1955 Brampton Minor Lacrosse Association, Ontario Representative MVP and 1956 Brampton Baseball Ontario Intermediate top batting average in the playoffs.
Some of the notable players that Bob played with and/or against included Frank Mahovlich and Dave Keon of the St Michaels Majors Junior ‘A’ Hockey team and Bobby Hull of the St. Catharines.
Bob has been married to Carol for 50 years and together they have four children and nine grandchildren.

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