Down Memory Lane - Geordie Dean
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington
The New Westminster Salmonbellies is one of the proudest names in the long history of Canadian sports.
High in the dusty rafters of venerable only Queens Park Arena flutters the many banners honouring the Mann and Minto Cups' champions of the past. To this exhibition of excellance hang five retired sweaters that had been worn by 'Bellies' superstars of years gone by -- the Number 13 worn by , 7 by , 12 by , 6 by and 18 by .
On July 26, 2007, a sixth number was set aside to celebrate the greatness of a player who wore the Red and Blue of the Royal City team -- the Number 5 of Geordie Dean.
The lacrosse of the 21st Century features offense and defence specialists, with a 'transition' player thrown into the mix.
But, there was a time not so long ago when every player on a team was a boxla 'Man for All Reasons.'
Geordie was a classic example of that kind of two-way player, combining outstanding defensive prowess with a powerful presence on offence -- others such as , , , , , , and , all of whom scored over 700 points.
But, despite Dean's many individual accomplishments, the success of his club was always paramount. A Royal City fireman in his private life, Geordie likened his athletic endeavors to his employment -- both, he reasons, require close teamwork to achieve success.
Born in New Westminster on December 8, 1960, Geordie was raised in nearby Coquitlam where he climbed through the community's minor lacrosse system to the Junior Adanacs in 1978. In a four-year junior span, he was a rookie-of-the-year, a league MVP, a four-time all-star, all while amassing 378 points in 100 games.
In addition, the Vancouver, Coquitlam and New Westminster senior teams all enlisted the talents of the junior-age star for a total of 40 games and 50 points. The 'Bellies, in fact, added him to its roster for the 1980 Mann Cup playoffs in Brampton.
In 1982, the Royal City squad happily drafted him in the first round of picks, thus solidifying the Fishmen's claim to Team of the Decade.
Over his phenomenal senior career, Geordie played in 53 Mann Cup games in nine series, winning three times (1986, 1889 and 1991). His last appearance in the national finals was 1995 when he established Mann Cup records for most goals (67), most assists (94) and most points (161). The goal and point records have since been eclipsed but the most assists record is still the best.
Over his 506-game senior career, Geordie accumulated 1,412 points on 569 goals and 843 assists -- totals that included 53 hat tricks, 109 power-play goals, 53 short-handed goals and 39 game winners.
Other gems in his crown include two Mike Kelly Awards as the Mann Cup MVP; three Commission Trophies as the WLA MVP; two Ellison Trophy wins as the WLA Playoff MVP; the Huddleston Trophy as the 1989 scoring champ; twice winner of the WLA Three-Star Game awards; twice winner of the Maitland Trophy as the WLA player combining value to his team with sportsmanship and contribution to minor lacrosse, and a 10-time league All-Star, seven of the First Team.
Oh, yes -- one more highlight: Geordie was rated as one of Canada's top field lacrosse midfielders, joining the Canadian National Team in 1985. He took part in three world championships that were held in Toronto in 1986, in Perth, Australia, in 1990, and Manchester, England, in 1994.
A newspaper reporter once gushed "King Geordie" in a one-inch high headline.
From a Dean to a King -- quite a crowning success story.