Down Memory Lane - Mike Reelie
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington


Does Mike Reelie have "Coquitlam Adanacs" tattooed across his chest?

Many diehards dwelling in the mad, mad world of lacrosse fanaticism fervently believe he does. Really!

And perhaps they are right, for, if it's not on the chest, it certainly is imbedded under the surface deep in his heart.

Michael Lorne Reelie toiled under the Adanacs' banner for 16 years although his personal association with the club actually began when the team was formed in 1965. Already labeled a star at the Tyke level, the six-year-old Michael moonlighted as a ballboy for the senior club. He was the first player in the community to begin his boxla career in the Coquitlam minors and work his way through every level into senior - others have followed, but Mike was the first.

Following his retirement as an active player in 1995, fans and teammates alike gathered to honour the unpretentious athlete with the retirement of his famous Number 21 sweater. Two other Adanacs have been so honoured -
's Number 3 and ' Number 6. But what sets Mike aside is the fact that he was the first player in the history of Western Canadian box lacrosse to have both his Junior A and Senior A sweaters retired in tribute.

A superstar throughout his minor boxla life, it is understandable that Mike would be coveted by the senior Adanacs - so much so that, just one month after his 17th birthday and before he had played a single junior game, the Coquitlam Intermediate donned the senior Adanac uniform for a May 17, 1975 game against Nanaimo. Oh yes, he scored his first senior goal in that contest.

Mike exploded into the junior ranks in 1976 with the Coquitlam J-Hawks, later renamed Coquitlam Junior Adanacs, with a 125-point output. In his four-year, 106-game junior career, Mike racked up an even 500 points on 209 goals and 291 assists - the latter remains a junior league record for playmakers. With talent such as this, the senior club was a regular caller, pulling the junior star up 32 times during which time he produced 62 points.

At the end of his junior career, Number 11 was permanently retired as a tribute to his dedication.

In 1980, the senior Adanacs made Mike the top draft choice, undoubtedly the best decision in the history of the franchise. The senior career burst into bloom with 193 points in the first two seasons. Hobbled by injuries over the next few years, Mike honed his other lacrosse talents and became known as a master on loose balls, faceoffs, penalty-killing and checking.

His point production may have dropped out of the stratosphere but Reelie still roamed amongst the stars. Only nine WLA players have played more than Mike's 477 senior games - a career in which he amassed 240 goals and 477 assists for 717 total points.

Other equally amazing statistics showcase his brilliant career: a mere 105 minor penalties in 477 games, even though he was a master at stripping opponents of ball possession; more playoff faceoffs (2,153) than any other WLA player, and second most career faceoffs (7,035).

Mike participated in two Mann Cup series but, unfortunately, was unable to make the winners' circle; however, he was a member of the 1980 Coquitlam club that captured the Nations Cup in the first box lacrosse world championship series.

The following winter, Mike accepted an invitation from his new Down Under friends to play for Adelaide Black Knights in the Australian Box Lacrosse League. Mike won the scoring title with his former junior teammate finishing second.

Mike's lacrosse awards are numerous:

Minors - "Lacrosse Boy of the Year" for 1974 in the Fraser Commission. Intermediate - Scoring title and league championship 1975. Junior - Rookie-of -the-Year 1976 and a three-time All-Star. Senior - Rookie-of-the-Year 1980, three-time winner of the Maitland Trophy for combining outstanding play with sportsmanship and contribution to minor lacrosse.

It is true that lacrosse is Mike's favourite sport, but there are numerous other athletic awards packed away in his closet of memories, such as:

Soccer:

  • Played 11 years with the Blue Mountain Soccer Club.
  • 1975 provincial high school champions with Centennial.
  • Member of the Sun Cup provincial soccer championship team in 1970-71 and presented with the Most Sportsmanlike Award of the tournament.
  • Member of the Simon Fraser University club that participated in several NCIA college championships in the late 1970s.
  • A draft choice of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
    Baseball:
  • Played three years Little League baseball.
  • Member of the Coquitlam South Little League champions 1966.
    Volleyball
  • Member of the Coquitlam Boys championship team 1972-73.
    Basketball
  • Member of the Coquitlam District Junior Boys team champions 1971-72.
    Hockey
  • Most Valuable Player in Juvenile B Hockey 1975-76.
  • In 1977, before his 19th birthday, Mike was chosen Sportsperson of the Year by the Coquitlam Chamber of Commerce. Three years later, he was nominated for the Columbian's Vic E. Andrew Athlete of the Year.

    Although Mike retired as an active player following the 1995 season, he hasn't abandoned the game. Mike can still be found coaching youngsters - he was, in fact, the Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association's 1993 Coach of the Year.

    Perhaps there is no greater compliment than those offered by your peers. Following the 1993 Mann Cup finals, Brampton star (a former Adanac teammate) asked for, and received, Mike's jersey.

    "I came here with two things in mind - to win the Mann Cup and the get Mike Reelie's jersey", explained Cordingly after the tournament. "People don't realize the underlying work that Mike Reelie does - defence, loose balls, faceoffs, ragging the ball, short man. Awesome! I have more respect for him than any other person I've ever played lacrosse with or against. I've played with some great guys but he's it - he's the one."

    JUNIOR STATISTICS
    LEAGUE PLAYOFFS (unavailable)
    Year GP G A PTS PIM GP G A PTS PIM
    1975 4 5 4 9 0          
    1976 28 49 76 125 38          
    1977 28 58 68 126 8          
    1978 22 51 64 115 40          
    1979 24 46 79 125 24          
    TOTAL 106 209 291 500 110          
     
    SENIOR STATISTICS
    LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
    Year GP G A PTS PIM GP G A PTS PIM
    1975 1 1 0 1 0 - - - - -
    1976 - - - - - 1 0 0 0 0
    1977 3 1 2 3 0 - - - - -
    1978 4 3 4 7 2 11 15 7 22 8
    1979 4 5 3 8 0 8 15 7 22 8
    1980 23 38 42 80 28 7 4 9 13 6
    1981 24 29 45 74 17 9 15 11 26 6
    1982 23 14 41 55 17 14 7 15 22 10
    1983 22 12 21 33 10 - - - - -
    1984 18 9 23 32 6 6 1 7 8 2
    1985 24 5 30 35 8 6 1 4 5 2
    1986 18 6 19 25 14 7 2 8 10 4
    1987 23 11 19 30 10 12 4 14 18 4
    1988 22 10 25 35 12 18 5 7 12 0
    1989 23 2 12 14 4 10 0 9 9 2
    1990 18 7 15 22 8 - - - - -
    1991 18 1 17 18 16 11 2 5 7 0
    1992 6 2 3 5 2 6 1 4 5 0
    1993 18 2 20 22 11 12 5 7 12 2
    1994 16 2 2 4 10 11 1 4 5 2
    1995 18 2 16 18 4 2 0 0 0 0
    TOTAL 326 162 359 521 179 151 78 118 196 56