Down Memory Lane - Bill Rawson
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington
Bill Rawson was the consummate Mr. Fixit. Over and 11-year career with the Vancouver Burrards, Bill earned a reputation as the handyman coaches always called upon to repair a potential weak spot in the roster, be it on the power play, killing penalties, or checking the opponents' top snipers to a standstill.
Hall of Framer dubbed him "Mr. Hustle," rivals nicknamed him "The Mighty Pest," His teammates knew him as a sparkplug and leader -- whatever the pseudonym, Bill was a helluva lacrosse player.
Born in Vancouver on October 29, 1946, Bill began playing lacrosse at aged 12, moving his way from Peewee to Junior 'A' with South Vancouver Legion. The junior years (1964 to 1967) were dominated by a powerful New Westminster Salmonbellies team that boasted such superstars as and , , and . Legion won just 29 of 89 games despite Bill's junior career total of 139 goals and 69 assists.
The Vancouver Burrards of 1968 had a stacked roster of veterans - , , , , , , , and , all of whom would one day be elected to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. But Rawson cracked the lineup with and impressive 20-goal, 24-assist season.
Bill had amazing agility, able to react to any given predicament before him. He excelled in ragging the ball in shorthanded situations and sticking like glue on opponents hellbent on attacking his goal.
Bill's star status rose even higher in 1971 when became Vancouver's new coach. One of his first moves was to make Rawson an assistant captain and to place him on the powerplay unit.
In 1975, team captain assumed the coaching reins; the captain's "C" was immediately placed on Rawson's Number Four jersey.
The Burrards contested the Mann Cup in a sudden-death effort in 1973, but failed. Behind Rawson's leadership, the Vancouver club successfully captured the Canadian championship in 1975 and again in 1977.
Bill retired after the1978 season having accumulated 290 goals and 514 assists for 804 points in 389 games.
An outstanding athlete, Rawson also starred for 13 Pacific Coast Soccer League seasons with North Shore and Firefighters. He was twice chosen to the B.C. Select side.
In 1974, Bill combined his lacrosse and soccer skills to win a position - and assistant captain's status - on the Canadian rep team that took part in the World Field Lacrosse Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
Oh yes, Bill was also one of the best billiard players in Vancouver between 1962 and 1970, winning several tournaments.
The Rawson name did not disappear form the game of lacrosse after Bill's retirement. His son spent 13 seasons (1988 to 2000) toiling with Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster and Maple Ridge teams while a second offspring, , put in five seasons with Burrards clubs playing out of Vancouver, Surrey and Maple Ridge.
Bill was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1994.