In the seventieth installment of Legends of the Game I have decided to look at the life and achievements of Ross Powless…A True Pioneer Of The Game
Ross Powless (September 29, 1926 – May 26, 2003) was a Mohawk lacrosse player from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation near Brantford, Ontario. Ross was positioned as an ambassador for lacrosse and for native people. (1)Powless is also considered one of the best lacrosse athletes in Canadian history and the father of modern lacrosse. His exceptional play has been credited with reviving interest in box lacrosse in the 1950s.
AWARDS & HONOURS:
1950 – Sr. B – Eastern Canadian Champions (Huntsville, Ontario)
1951-54 – Dominion Mann Cup Champions (Peterborough, Ontario)
1953 – Awarded Most Valuable Player in Mann Cup Finals (Canadian Senior Lacrosse Championships)
1955 – Player/Coach for Lewiston, N.Y. and Tuscarora Indian Reserve, winning the Sr. B- Eastern Canadian Championship.
1958-68 – Coach of Brantford Warriors Lacrosse Team, winning the Ontario Intermediate “A” and Senior “B” divisions.
Player and Coach of the Hamilton-Lincoln Burners Sr. “A” Lacrosse team for 2 years, winning the MVP, Top Scorer, Best Defensive Player and Coach of the Year awards. Coach of the Six Nations teams which won the All-Indian Senior Lacrosse Championship in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario (UNDEFEATED TO DATE).
Awarded the Tom Longboat Award for two separate years as the Top Native Athlete in Canada.
1965,78,79 – Served on the Six Nations Recreation Committee
1966 – Served as President of Six Nations Minor Hockey Association
1967 – Coached the Canadian Sr. Men’s Lacrosse team and defeated the United States team at Expo 67 in Montreal.
1960’s Helped organize Minor Lacrosse in Brantford and played Intermediate hockey, in Ont.
1967 – Retired from playing Sr. Lacrosse
1968 – Coached the Brantford Warriors to the Canadian Sr. “B” Lacrosse Championship.
1969 – Coach and Manager of the Rochester, N.Y., Lacrosse team which won the North American Lacrosse Association Championship.
Ross was Inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
1972 – On the Building Committee for the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre.
1974 – Coached the Ontario First Nations team which won the All-Indian Nations ’74 Lacrosse tournament in B.C. The team included SIX of his sons.
1980 – Co-Coach of the First Nations team which won the Silver Medal in the International Lacrosse tournament in Vancouver, B.C. Other teams participating came from Australia, Canada, United States and England.
1990 – Son, Gaylord was also inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. This nomination resulted in Ross and Gaylord being the only Father-Son Duo in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
1996 – Ross was inducted into the newly formed Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
1997 – Awarded the Volunteer Service Award by the Ontario Municipal Recreation Association. In their submission, Six Nations Parks and Recreation wrote, “Ross is responsible for making the Powless name synonymous with the game of Lacrosse”.
Until his passing, he gave a WOODEN handmade lacrosse stick (from the Six Nations Reserve) to each of his grandsons, to continue the sport.
(1)Ormsby, Mary (May 27, 2003). “Lacrosse legend Ross Powless dies; Six Nations elder was gifted player, coach Hall of famer called sport’s ‘ambassador'”. Toronto Star.
Chronological Stats from the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame.