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Last edited by David Soul Sep 1, 2008 JackGreenMemoryLane

Down Memory Lane - Jack Green
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington



Jack Green was the netminder of the future for the Vancouver Burrards lacrosse organization, the anointed successor for the great Walt Lee.

Just 23 years of age, Jack had already participated in three Canadian senior lacrosse finals.

But, on October 17, 1953. John Walter Green tragically died while on a hunting trip in a remote corner of Vancouver Island.

The lanky, likeable athlete played several games as a youngster but lacrosse was special for, although his modest disposition forbade him from admitting it, he excelled as a boxla netminder. And there was another reason -- his closest friends were teammates. They were important to him.

Lacrosse followers first took notice of the tall, lean Green in 1944 when, at the age of 14, he led the Kimount Boys Club to the B.C. junior title. His teammates included Mario Crema, Mariono Cervi, Colin and Chuck Cruickshank, Lyle Kehoe, Roy Zimmer and Jack Byford.

Four years later, the now six-foot-two goalie was recruited to play senior lacrosse with the Richmond Farmers along with buddies Crema, Zimmer and Byford.

Burrards acquired him in 1949 to replace the retiring Walt Lee. At the tender age of 19, Jack was crowned the league's Most Valuable Goaltender while back-stopping the John Cavallin-coached Vancouver squad to the Mann Cup title, crushing Hamilton Tigers three games to one.

The Burrards, now playing under the sponsorship Pilseners' banner, also took part in the 1951 and 1952 Canadian finals, unsuccessfully combatting the talent-laden Peterborough Timbermen.

Following the 1953 season, with a career total of 175 senior games already to his credit, Jack hooked up with his father-in-law and his wife's uncle for a hunting trip to the Union Bay area of Vancouver Island.

Somehow, the hunting party became separated -- Jack had disappeared.

A search party that swelled to over 400 volunteers began trudging through the heavy woods. When Cavallin learned that Jack was missing, he telephoned Jack's dad, offering to form a search party of lacrosse players.

"You're too late, Johnny," the distraught father said. "You're too late."

Jack was believed to have fallen off a cliff into the Tsable River and was swept downstream for about a mile. His body was found under a log that had jammed in a narrow river gorge.

"As a goalie, Jack was remarkably fast for his size, with a quick eye and good hands," Cavallin later observed. "As a man, he enjoyed his family and his teammates. The sort of guy who gave his best shot whether stopping lacrosse balls or climbing poles for the B.C. Telephone Company."

John and Roy Cavallin, Jack Byford, Lou Moro, Bob Marsh and Alex MacKay acted as pallbearers at Jack's funeral on October 22.

Later, Jack's Number "1" sweater was retired as a tribute to the young goaltender cheated of life at the tender age of 23.

 


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