New West wards off threat of losing Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame

A deft play by the city ensured that treasured lacrosse history will stay on the West Coast – and in New Westminster.

“There was a big push by the East, because of their disappointment in the old hall, to take the hall out of New West and take it back East,” said Tony Glavin, chair of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame’s board of governors.

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The city worked to see the hall moved from Centennial Community Centre to the new Anvil Centre. As Glavin says, “This was critical to keeping it here. The city recognized it, to their credit.”

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, who was serving on the board of governors when a decision was made to move it to Anvil Centre, said some people thought the old location wasn’t accessible and didn’t do the sport justice.

“I think this was a great move,” Puchmayr said. “This secured the hall of fame in perpetuity in our city.”

The Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame is located on the third floor of Anvil Centre, next to the New Westminster Museum. Its collection includes historical photographs, plaques, medals, trophies and famous lacrosse players’ sticks and sweaters/jerseys.

“The important thing to realize is we are both a museum and a hall of fame,” Glavin told the Record. “They really are two different things. A museum is something that’s meant to showcase the game and its history, which is very important. The hall of fame is a celebration of great players and great teams. That celebration takes place in two formats. One is in the museum and the other is in the induction banquet. That is a big deal.”

In November 2014, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame held its 50th annual induction banquet and officially opened its facility in Anvil Centre. Each year, the hall of fame holds an annual induction ceremony to honour players, builders, teams and veterans who’ve contributed to Canada’s national summer sport.

The Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame is contributing $190,000 to the City of New Westminster for costs related to the design and construction of its new home. The funds, which will be paid to the city over five years, are primarily coming from the Canadian Lacrosse Foundation, which has a mandate to promote the history and heritage of lacrosse.

The Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame aims to give folks a chance to take a trip down memory lane by displaying an assortment of lacrosse memorabilia and providing information about the game known as the fastest sport on two feet.

“The sky’s the limit,” Puchmayr said. “There is going to be new shelving in there. There will be more artifacts in there.”

Glavin said the hall of fame rushed to open the museum in time for Anvil Centre’s grand opening in September 2014. Since then, much of its collection was stored at a different location and was only recently delivered to the centre.

“The old one was a lot of clutter. It hadn’t been updated in 20 years,” he said. “I understand the community if they are saying, ‘Where is everything?’ All I can say is, it’s here and we are going to bring it out. It’s going to take time.”

All along, the plan has been to rotate items in and out of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Lacrosse fans can rest assured that the Mann Cup and Minto Cup will be fixtures in the museum.

Along with changing up some of the storyboards that adorn the museum’s walls, new shelving will be added to the facility to get more of its collection out of boxes and into the public realm.

“I understand people come down and probably go, ‘Where are all the old sticks? Where are all the old jerseys? Where are the old trophies?’ They are here, finally. It’s just going to take time,” Glavin said. “Here is what is exciting about this. Our plan is we are going to be hanging some really iconic sticks, probably a dozen, with a dropdown. Sticks are very important to this game. The other thing that is very important to the game are jerseys. We have some great old, very valuable artifacts in the jerseys themselves. We will be hanging those. That stuff is really important. There’s a lot more room to put more stuff so that will be done.”

The hall of fame’s plans include installing computer kiosks, which would be a hands-on way for the public to access information about lacrosse.

“You can punch in a player and get history and information on that player,” Puchmayr said. “Once all that is up and running, it will exceed by miles what the old hall of fame was and it will be interactive. It will be clean. It is going to be a phenomenal project.”

Glavin anticipates that more memorabilia will be on display by late spring, but the hall of fame is shooting to have the museum fully up and running by November.

“Ideally, we’d like to get it all completed by the induction banquet in November,” he said. “That’s our goal, but we have a number of different things going on at the same time.”

Like the facility itself, Glavin said the hall of fame’s website should also state it’s “under construction” because it’s being totally revamped to provide an interface between the hall and the website. Plans are also afoot to assemble some travelling exhibits so some items from the museum can be taken back east when teams are competing in the Minto or Mann Cups.

While some items from the collection may visit Easter Canada, Glavin believes the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame is exactly where it’s supposed to be: New Westminster.

“There may be some eastern communities that could lay claim to being the Mecca of lacrosse, but there isn’t one that beats New West,” he said. “New West is really the city. People coming from across the country and around the world, who have any lacrosse knowledge, know how important New Westminster is to the game.”

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