Down Memory Lane - Gaylord Powless
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington
He was an extraordinary lacrosse player, proud of his heritage and family name.
Btw, to soar to the lofty heights of stardom enjoyed and era earlier by his father, had to overcome many obstacles: hurtful racist taunts from fan and foe alike meant to throw him off his game, the inevitable comparisons to , a trick knee and a damaged back, and a reputation as a goodtime Johnnie.
Through it all, though, he beat back the personal barriers to excel in the game of his forefathers.
But, sadly, cancer was one enemy he could not push aside - Gaylord's brilliant star was snuffed out July 28, 2001 four months short of his 55th birthday.
Born December 1, 1946, on the Six Nations Reservation near Brantford, Ontario, Gaylord was waving a lacrosse stick almost from the moment he could walk. Soon, his opponents discovered how to throw the budding star off his game - abuse him physically and verbally, knowing he would retaliate and take a stupid penalty and often ejection from the game.
Gaylord once reflected that often lost his temper until one day his father threatened to make him quit the game he loved so dearly. Gaylord suddenly became a quick study in self-discipline.
Legendary coach soon came calling, somehow circumventing some territorial rules and regulations, was able to get the 17-year-old Gaylord to join his Oshawa Green Gaels, winners of the 1963 Minto Cup.
In the subsequent four years, Gaylord won two scoring titles, was twice awarded the Ken Ross Trophy for ability and sportsmanship, accumulated 710 points in 110 Junior games, and was named the Tom Longboat Trophy winners Canada's outstanding Indian athlete in 1964 and 1967.
Oh, yes, Oshawa captured the Minto Cup all four years, with Gaylord twice being named the series' Most Valuable Player.
Gaylord graduated to senior lacrosse level in 1968 and, like his father before him, led a somewhat nomatic lacrosse life.
, playing at the Intermediate and Senior 'A' and 'B' levels between 1945 and 1966, lined up with teams in Peterborough, Hamilton, and St. Catharines, Brantford, Ohsweken and North Vancouver Gaylord also traveled about -- Detroit, Montreal, Brantford, Syracuse, Brampton, Six Nations and Coquitlam - before his damaged back forced him into retirement in 1977.
For Gaylord, it was a nine-season, 303-game Senior career that produced 492 goals and 741 assists for1, 233 points and one Mann Cup ring.
In a 1989 interview with the Globe and Mail, recalled that he was able to keep control on the fun-loving Gaylord by threatening to bench him if he bent team discipline with his late-night cavorting. Bishop said the Magnificent Mohawk "broke curfew once" but was so separate to continuing playing that he scraped together $200 good behavior bond.
Bishop always felt he had gained the upper hand with his threats to sit out his star. But did he? While covering the 1967 Minto Cup series in Oshawa, reporter Don Cannon spotted Powless outside a drive-in restaurant at 2:30 a.m. on the eve before an important game, resplendent in a black leather jacket and straddling a motorcycle. A few hors later, Powless scored four goals and was named the game star. "He had the fastest reaction time of any athlete I ever coached, of anybody I've ever seen, " Bishop said in the 1989 interview. "He was an outstanding athlete. I shouldn't compare him with Wayne Gretsky, but there's a natural tie-in. He knew where everybody was on the floor at all times. He was an unselfish player and a great playmaker.
"The biggest compliment I can pay him is that, under the pressure of national championships, he was always at him best. He was and unbeatable person when we were in difficult straits.
"He had an inner toughness - the capability of being a street fighter in lacrosse. He was able to take a lot of punishment. In hockey, you'd say he was tough in the corners."
Father Ross was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1969. Gaylord joined him in 1990.