Peterborough Lakers to don replica 1978 Red Oaks sweaters Thursday
The Peterborough Lakers will have a new look in their upcoming game with Cobourg Kodiaks on Thursday.
The Lakers will be wearing replica sweaters of the 1978 Peterborough Red Oaks senior lacrosse team.
This year will be the 40th anniversary of the Red Oaks winning the city its seventh Mann Cup title. Former Red Oak players will be in attendance to see the current Lakers play in sweaters with the original players’ names on the back. The 1978 players will be given the sweaters after the game.
The 1978 season started with the Red Oaks given little chance of winning let alone being successful. That year five local players, (Tim Barrie, John Grant Sr. Jim Wasson, Sandy Lynch and Carm Collins) were working out with the Canadian National field lacrosse team preparing to play in the World Championships in England in early July.
Also, the Red Oaks were limited to five former professional players from the defunct National Lacrosse League that disbanded in 1975. The OLA, in one of their asinine decisions prevented players from the NLL from playing in the league.
Legal intervention eventually forced the league to allow five former pros on each senior A team. Since practically all the eligible local players had played at some time in the NLL, the ruling hurt Peterborough the most. The Red Oaks filled out their depleted roster with players from the local men’s house league.
After the World championships ended on July 8, only Wasson and Barrie returned to the Red Oaks. The Red Oaks finished the season in second place.
In the first round of the playoffs they faced Brooklin. Interestingly two of the players instrumental in Canada winning the world field lacrosse championship six weeks earlier, faced each other in the series. Jim Wasson of the Oaks scored five goals in the opening game win. In game two Stan Cockerton, who scored the overtime goal in England, was best for Brooklin, though Peterborough edged out the Redmen. Late in the series, a gaffe by Cockerton resulted in a Wasson goal that led to the Red Oak series win.
The OLA final pitted first place Owen Sound against the Oaks. In the first game, Jim (J.J.) Johnston paced Peterborough with five goals in the 12-8 win. Two nights later Tom Parnell stepped up with a five goal performance to give the Oaks a 2-0 lead. The Oaks completed the sweep and the OLA title with a win in Peterborough before only 750 fans.
The bandwagon started to load up with fans when Victoria arrived to start the Mann Cup finals in the Memorial Centre. More than 2,300 fans saw the Oaks win the opening game 12-11. Goalie Tim Barrie made 33 saves and Tom Parnell scored four goals.
Victoria won the next two games, the second in overtime. They were paced by a former Peterborough junior player, Dan Green. The Red Oaks adding four junior players to the lineup, namely Brian and Gerrard Cowie, Scott McLean and Larry Floyd, tied the series with a 13-11 win. Peterborough won the fifth game setting up a series-deciding sixth game.
Well over 5,000 fans crammed into the Memorial Centre on Sept. 13, 1978 to see the Red Oaks win 14-6. No official attendance figures were announced because it exceeded capacity regulations but many feel it was the largest crowd ever to see any sporting event in the Centre.
Bob Wasson led the Red Oaks with four goals with juniors Larry Floyd and Gerrard Cowie each adding a pair. Tim Barrie was voted the MVP of the series.
The 1978 Mann Cup victory, of the fifteen the Peterborough teams have won, may have been the most unexpected and rewarding because of the adversities the team went through.
Peterborough Red Oaks senior lacrosse team goalie Tim Barrie is seen in his uniform in a 1978 playoff game.