LACROSSE LEGENDS

by Bev Powless

On October 1, 2000 four Onondaga Nation residents were honored posthumously into the Upstate New York Chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

The Fabulous Four:

Credentials for induction into our Hall of Fame are normally presented as numbers, or statistics. The candidate's record shows when and where he played, how many shots he made or blocked, how many assists, and how far he helped carry his team.

There are no such records for the four Native Americans we are proudly and posthumously inducting . These four men are more than contributors to the game. They are practically saviors of lacrosse. They played in an era where the only vital statistics were wins, losses, cuts and bruises.

These four men helped keep the fires of lacrosse burning during times when many sports withered and faded away. During the 1920's which were not so roaring for the Native Americans of the Onondaga Reservation, through the even leaner years of the great depression, and the sad War years, the game of lacrosse was nurtured, preserved and even helped to flourish by men like Lyons, Pierce, Pierce and Powless.

They saved the legacy of lacrosse and passed it on to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who are playing the game today. It is indeed time we recognize and thank these four fine gentlemen for their devotion to the great game of lacrosse.

Newspaper quotes about them at that time were:

Oren Lyons Sr. - He is the best goalie we have faced in New York by Laurie Cox, Syracuse University Lacrosse Coach

Lyle Pierce Sr. - He showed some of the cleverest lacrosse that could be desired by any manager.

Stanley Pierce Sr. - Team captain Stanley Pierce was used as a model for defense players by many coaches.

Irving Powless Sr. - Powless handles a stick as though it were a part of his arm and his passes are flawless.

One of the highlights of the Onondaga record is the fact that they played against John Hopkins University in the tryouts for the Olympic Games in 1932.

 


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