Two Whitby Warrior grads in class of ’23 for Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame induction

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Published August 16, 2023 at 4:22 pm

Gavin Prout

Two graduates of the storied Whitby Minor Lacrosse Association highlight the 2023 Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame class.

Twelve new inductees, including four players, three officials, one veteran and one team, will be enshrined at a ceremony this November.

Players

Gavin Prout’s junior career with the Whitby Warriors was the stuff of legends, winning Minto Cups in 1997 and 1999 and capturing the Dennis MacIntosh Memorial Trophy as Junior ‘A’ MVP in 1998, the Bobby Allan Trophy as top scorer in ’99, among other accolades.

Prout also won the Mann Cup in 2000 with Brooklin.

Prout was a seven-time all-star as a pro in the NLL and won the championship in Colorado (where his number 9 jersey is retired) in 2006. He also won four championships in professional field lacrosse between 2002 and 2009.

He also represented Canada at both field and box world championships, winning gold indoors in 2007 and a medal of each colour outdoors, with the gold medal coming in 2006. Prout was inducted into the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Jennifer ‘JJ’ Johnson grew up in Brooklin and began playing boys’ box lacrosse for the Whitby Minor Lacrosse Association for ten years and before transitioning to the women’s’ field game as it began to grow.

Johnson played for several Provincial teams (both junior and senior) and then made her way onto the international stage playing for Team Canada in 1995 (as a junior co-captain) and as a senior in 2001 and 2005.

In between national teams, she played for Penn State from 1996-1999, being named to all-star and All American teams during her final three years. In her senior year Johnson was a first team All American and scoring champion and led Penn State to the NCAA semi finals.

Johnson also played in the 2001 and 2005 World Cups and was named to the All World team.

She went on to coach at the NCAA level and was head coach of Canada’s U19 team in 2007. Johnson was added to the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame rolls in 2017.

Jennifer ‘JJ’ Johnson

Troy Cordingley was a top scorer in five years of Jr ‘A’ and in a dozen years playing Major/Sr ‘A’ won six Mann Cups championships with Coquitlam, Brampton and Six Nations.

He was also a four-time NLL champion (two as a player, two as a coach), with stints in Buffalo, Albany and Rochester.

Over the course of his storied career Darren Reisig has contributed to the success of teams in Jr ‘A’ (1988 Minto Cup), Sr ‘A’ (three-time Mann Cup champion), and professional box lacrosse. Reisig also played in two World Championships with Team Canada in 1984 and in 1988, earning silver in ’88.

Reisig was elected to the Victoria Shamrocks Hall of Fame in 2010.

Builders

Honoured in the Builder Category this year are three legends of lacrosse, including Scott Browning, who has dedicated more than 50 years to the game as a player, coach and administrator from his base in Victoria.

Browning started his playing career with the Esquimalt Lacrosse Association at the age of five and was a member of 11 Canadian field lacrosse championships. He also won silver as a member of the national team at the 1990 World Championships.

As a coach he been involved with teams from junior to the national team, where he won a second silver medal, this time as a coach of Canada’s U19 team, in 2012. Browning also served to promote the game in Asia, serving as Head Coach of the Hong Kong National Team from 2013-2020.

Paul Gilkinson’s contribution to the game have also come over a 50 year-plus career, with a strong emphasis on the women’s game.

He coached at the local, provincial, collegiate, and national level and was one of the assistant coaches for the inaugural Women’s World Championships Team Canada in 1982. During that time, he was also the head coach of the University of Toronto’s men’s field lacrosse club. Gilkinson contributed directly to the success of eight world championships, with roles ranging from assistant coach, game commentator, and timekeeper.

Gilkinson was awarded the Ontario Women’s Field Lacrosse Award of Distinction and the U20 Coach of the Year, to name a few of his honours. He was also inducted into the Ontario Hall of Fame in 1998.

Robert Matte quite literally wrote the book on goaltending and has been a coach and consultant in Quebec since the 1970s.

During his lengthy coaching career Matte collected and assessed statistics on everything related to lacrosse as he believed that every strategic game plan had to rest upon verifiable facts and data. His ‘Team playbook’ is the best example of his thoroughness as an analyst and his of talents as a teacher.

He also produced a highly detailed technical document on the organization of a lacrosse team involved in high level competition and between 2001 and 2004, as a coach for the Quebec and Canadian Senior Inter-Crosse Teams, Matte produced a ‘Game book’ which lays out his philosophical beliefs and detailed patterns and plays for high level competition.

As a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s Technical Committee in 2004 he also wrote the Association’s manual on the theory and technical components of inter-crosse for the National Certification Program/Community component.

Officials

A referee and administrator for more than 30 years, Frank Lawrence has been involved as a team executive, league executive, team manager, coach, mentor and unofficial ambassador for lacrosse.

Lawrence’s participation in the sport has gone all the way to the national and international levels and he has been a driving force in the development of referees for both Box and Field lacrosse. A veteran of more than 2,500 games as a referee, he also helped develop the Ontario’s Referee Program, which has already produced top officials all over the world, including more than 30 officials in the NLL.

One of the top tier minor and senior officials in lacrosse, Rick Lum started his lacrosse career with Burnaby Minor Lacrosse, starting his officiating career at the age of 12.

He continued playing up to the Junior level while officiating (1973-2001) and rose to the senior level by 2001, which later included multiple selection for National Minto Cup, Mann Cup and Presidents Cup championships.

Lum was then hired by the National Lacrosse League as an on-floor official and in 2004 he was assigned to officiate in his first NLL Championship game’ the first of five.

In 2009 he turned to coaching, with stints with the Coquitlam Jr A and NLL teams in Washington and Colorado before returning to officiating in the NLL.

Jim Price started coaching his son’s box lacrosse team in Barrie in the early 70’s before getting involved in field lacrosse at the provincial and national level. Price became known for selflessly traveling the world sharing his expertise and training officials, often on his own dime.

Price was recognized in 2004 with the Lester B. Pearson Award for his contributions to officiating.

Veteran

The story of Peterborough’s Len Powers began when he picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time at 16 because the local baseball team he planned to play for ceased operations that year.

Although capable of scoring goals in his playing career Powers’ career was best known for his stellar play as a defensive specialist.

He was a key component on six championship squads, including three Mann Cups and was team captain of the Peterborough PCOs Junior A team in 1972 when they won the Minto Cup, with Powers named Top Defensive Player.

Team

The Team Canada U19 Women’s team from 2015 will go down in history as the first Women’s Field Lacrosse Canadian National team to win the gold medal in the World Championships.

Leading up to the tournament in Edinburgh, Scotland, the team from both the east and west coast battled against a limited budget and practice time and significant costs to just to get there.

A 15-9 loss to the favoured Americans only fuelled the women in the rematch in the gold medal game, where they prevailed in a tightly contested back and forth game, 9-8.

These new inductees bring the total number honoured in lacrosse’s national shrine to 572 – 168 Builders, 343 Players and 57 Veterans (those who played in 1985 or before) and four in the Official category. There are also 25 teams inducted under the Team category.

The formal induction banquet and ceremonies are scheduled for November 5.

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