Montreal Quebecois: We Hardly Knew Ye
We touched base on the Montreal Quebecois professional lacrosse team in the History of Box Lacrosse Series, but it’s still only the surface of this club. It was a member of the original NLL, the incredibly short-lived earliest version of the pro game. Not affiliated with the current National Lacrosse League, the original NLL set some lofty goals for including sport in the national conversation.
The entire six-team league started competition in 1974 and folded right after the 1975 season. A brand new entity in a sport largely unfamiliar at the time, the 38-game season with two best-of-seven series in the postseason was beyond a massive undertaking. Five clubs operated during both seasons, including the Long Island Tomahawks, Boston Bolts, Philadelphia Wings, Maryland Arrows, and Montreal Quebecois. The Syracuse Stingers relocated after 1974 to Quebec City to become the Quebec Caribous.
With the four other clubs located on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., Canada staked it’s initial two clubs in the province of Quebec in an attempt to drum up an early rivalry and govern travel budgets. The final championship series of the league featured the Caribou defeating the Quebecois, 4-2.
Nelson Stoll and John Ferguson were the main investors in the Montreal Quebecois. Ferguson was a star in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, winning five Stanley Cups during his 12-year tenure with the team until 1971. Sidney Salomon III, owner of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, had originally owned 50 percent of this team, but the other two gentlemen bought him out, becoming the sole owners of the franchise. The team moved into the famous Montreal Forum, shared also by the NHL’s Canadiens.
The buyout resulted in a completely locally-owned franchise. Paying homage to the inhabitants of the province, Stoll and Ferguson landed on the Quebecois which simply means, “a person from Quebec.” Ferguson was essentially forced to coach the team in year one when Bill Bradley, the original manager, decided he wanted to play on the team. That’s how informal the whole process was in the original version of the NLL.
Jim Bishop would replace Ferguson at the helm for year two, improving the 19-21 regular season and 2-4 first round loss to 24-24 and 6-7 in the postseason with a championship appearance.
When the league closed shop in February of 1976, the final series between the teams in Quebec generated some of the best revenue and attendance for both cities. The Caribous jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the series before Montreal fought back to claim Games 4 and 5. On September 29, 1975, the Caribous decided the series at home in Le Colisee, topping the Quebecois, 16-10, in-front of 9,185 strong.
Yet, after the dust settled, the Caribous, Arrows and Wings proved to be the only profitable and sustainable teams. With half the teams falling bankrupt, the whole league was dragged down with them.
The final roster included legends like Haudenosaunee great Gaylord Powless and Bruce Arena, former U.S. Men’s Soccer National Team head coach and MLS staple. John Davis gets record book credit as the star, second in NLL scoring in 1974 (78 goals, 105 assists) and third in 1975 (79 goals, 129 assists) with 68 total playoff points. A long-time Peterborough Senior A great, Davis is considered to be one of the best in the club’s history, winning two Mann Cup titles (1966 and 1973), 1966 Mann Cup MVP honors, the Bucko McDonald Trophy for Senior A scoring titles four times (1966, 1967, 1971, 1973), Senior A Rookie of the Year (1966), along with dozens of other titles.
Montreal Quebecois Roster – 1975
- Bruce Arena
- Michel Blanchard
- Gary Brezany
- John Davis
- Nick Delmonico
- Wayne Finck
- Gord Floyd
- Ron Hill
- Sid Hill
- Ross Jones
- Bill Langley
- Dave Litzenberger
- Serge Loiselle
- Dale Mackenzie
- John McKenna
- Ernie Mitchell
- Bill Nunn
- Gerry Pinder
- Ron Pinder
- Gaylord Powless
- Bruce Roundpoint
- Bill Sheehan
- John Sheffield
- Steve Shipley
- Bill Squires
- Dave Tasker
- Ken Tyler
- Ken Winzoski
Montreal Quebecois: Lacrosse History
Own Montreal Quebecois History!
While digging through the archives, Justin Skaggs at Wood Lacrosse Sticks found an awesome advertisement for the Montréal Québécois that he just had to own on a shirt. Not being the greedy type, Skaggs is letting the world get their hands on these puppies too!
We are printing straight on to the comfiest Anvil shirts we could find. One. Time. Only! Once these shirts are out of print, they’re never coming back.
Skaggs took an old advertisement, cleaned it up and took it to the press. Now we want you to own one too.
All sales close on JULY 18th with NO REPRINTS! You miss it now, you miss it forever!