Down Memory Lane - George William Feeney
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington
It is unfortunate that records of goals and assists for field lacrosse were never set aside for future generations to scan because, had they been kept, George Feeney would undoubtedly emerge as one of the all-time great pointgetters.
Far from being a showboat, George earned a reputation as one of the steadiest scorers in lacrosse when the game was in its heydays, always whipping two or three shots behind frustrated netminders.
Born in New Westminster on December 28, 1895, George began his long career as a goalkeeper with the West End Intermediates of New Westminster in 1911. After another season in goal, George moved up to home. He was an instant success.
In 1914, George divided his talents between West End Intermediates and the Royal City's senior amateur club. The following year, he was instrumental in leading the senior team to the Mann Cup Championship.
After spending two years overseas with the Canadian Army, George returned to new Westminster in 1919, playing the next two seasons in senior amateur company before turning professional with the famous Salmonbellies. Despite his small stature, George's hustle soon established him as one of the club's top scorers.
Each week he would dash madly about the field, losing five of his 138 pounds. Then, accompanied by his teammates and father, he would - to the gurgling sound of beer - regain the lost weight in time to lose it again during the next game. Incidentally, his father Patrick never missed watching a New Westminster game in over 50 years.
Wishing to return to the amateur ranks, George and teammates and and were forced to sit out the 1925 and 1926 seasons. Once reinstated, George led the New Westminster club to represent Canada in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam; however, his former professional status precluded him from participating in all but exhibition matches.
But his fame was established internationally. George, now semi-retired, traveled to Los Angeles as a spectator at the 1932 Olympic Games and ended up refereeing one of the matches.
George tried his hand at box lacrosse when it was introduced in 1933, but a severe arm injury ended his career.
Lacrosse was undoubtedly George's strong game but it was by no means his only sport. Between 1912 and 1920 - with the exception of his war service overseas - George was an all-star shortstop or second baseman with several New Westminster baseball teams. In addition, while attending the Royal City High School, George led the school's soccer club to three provincial titles between 1912 and 1914 and later lined up with Westminster United and Vancouver Hearts. Somehow, he also found time to dabble in basketball, hockey and bowling.
George was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1969, joining his brother Patrick Junior who had been elected to the Hall as a Charter member.