by Gabrielle MacLellan In The 17th century European Settlers observed the First Nations of Canada playing what is now known as lacrosse. The First Nations played the game to show their gratitude to the great spirit.
French Settlers thought the stick looked like a Bishop’s crozier or staff, in French crozier is Crosse. They began calling this game La Crosse and the name stuck. In the 1800s Montreal residents started to become interested in the sport and began to play against the First Nations.
The father of modern lacrosse is William George Beers. He made a pamphlet in the 1860s that detailed the instructions and rules for the sport. Beers also replaced the ball which had been a deerskin ball with one made of hard rubber. In 1867 Dr. Beers’ Montreal Lacrosse Club organized a conference to create what is now known as the Canadian Lacrosse Association, then known as the National Lacrosse Association. This was the first national sport governing body in North America, it had the goal to organize national championships and standardize rules.
In 1859 Lacrosse was made the national sport of Canada. It remained the national sport till 1994 when the Canadian Parliament passed Canada’s National Sport Act. This act made lacrosse the national summer sport, and hockey the national winter sport. The Dufferin Historical Museum in Carman has lacrosse gear, trophy’s and photographs in our sports display.