Friend, then foe. A great player either way.
Fred ‘Whitey’ Severson played both roles for lacrosse fans in New Westminster during his heydays in the sport, first as a legendary player, and later as a referee.
A member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Severson died Jan. 27 at the age of 91.
Born in New West in 1928, the teen was an early call-up for the Inter-City (predecessor to the Western Lacrosse Association) League’s New West Salmonbellies in 1944 as a 16-year-old, then made the full-time jump a year later for the amalgamated Salmonbellies-Adanacs team.
In 1948, he played a big part with the New West Adanacs, as they were known then, helping them beat Mimico 3-0 for a Mann Cup title.
A year later, his last with the team, New West lost to Hamilton 3-2 in the national final.
Severson joined fellow Adanac Archie Browing in a move to Victoria where he got a job with the local fire department, leading to a string of successes for the Shamrock franchise. Severson ended up winning two more Mann Cup rings over 13 seasons on the Island before retiring in 1963.
During his time with New West, the slick-passing forward tallied 111 goals and 192 assists over 98 regular season games, and contributed 24 goals and 22 assists in 31 playoff contests.
Over 403 games, Severson tallied 422 goals and 509 assists. He added 73 more goals and 103 assists in 101 playoff games.
The Shamrocks retired his No. 8 jersey, honouring a player who won three league scoring championships and the first player in league history to hit the 500-game and 1,000-point peak.