Down Memory Lane - Bob Salt
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington
The saga of is appropriately labeled, "Have suitcase, will travel".
Over the past four decades, lacrosse fans in British Columbia placed friendly bets on where Bob would surface next as a coach.
Boxla buffs still wonder if the likeable Salt loves to teach young players or if he were simply a sucker for punishment. One thing is certain, though; he had a nice thatch of blond hair as a player that, after entering the coaching profession, melted down to a sparse ring around the dome.
The coaching resume of Suitcase Salt lists two junior and four senior clubs, plus a number of minor league lacrosse and soccer teams.
But, before Bob became a mentor, he was an outstanding defenceman with the Vancouver Burrards.
Born Robert George Salt in Vancouver on March 18, 1947, Bob climbed his way up the age ladder of the South Vancouver minor lacrosse system, eventually landing with the Junior Vancouver Legion club in 1964 at the age of 17. After accumulating 67 goals and 49 assists in just 43 junior games, Bob joined the senior Vancouver team halfway through the 1966 season - he was just 19.
For the next 11 seasons, Bob built a reputation as fun-loving off the floor, loose in the dressing room, yet all business on the playing floor. His lumbering gait belied his agility, his hard-hitting defensive skills often overshadowed by his scoring prowess. He rose to a level of stardom attained by few but, had it not been for a severe knee injury in 1970, his remarkable career would have reached even greater heights.
In 343 senior games, Bob racked up 427 goals and 503 assists for 930 points. Awards were many - a league all-star eight times, four on the First Team; the league's MVP (Commission Trophy) in 1974 and again in 1975; the playoff MVP (Ellison Trophy) in 1975, and the Maitland Trophy in 1976 for combining sportsmanship, value to your team and contribution to minor lacrosse.
Oh, yes! Bob also sports three Mann Cup rings - 1967 and 1975 with Vancouver and 1972 as a pickup player added to the New Westminster lineup.
Bob was well-respected by everyone involved in lacrosse which made it an easy transition from player to coach when the bad knee forced him into retirement at the still young age of 29. In 1977, he accepted an offer to coach the Coquitlam Adanacs which, three years later, he led to the Nationals '80 World Box Lacrosse Championship.