1920 TAMMANY TIGERS SENIOR TEAM
Mulvey School and grounds on Maryland was the home of the Tammany Tigers, who fielded teams in various sports. Drawing lacrosse players from the local schools (Mulvey, Laura Secord, Alexandria, and Greenway) in the Winnipeg Schools Lacrosse League, the Tigers started to field midget, junior, and senior lacrosse teams in the 1910’s. The Tigers significant break through was in 1918 when the junior squad won the league championship.
This junior team was the foundation for the Tammany Senior team that dominated competition in the 1920’s. The Tigers captured the senior league title in 1922, 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1928. The Winnipeg Free Press described the lacrosse of this era as “excellent lacrosse” marred by violence. The 1923 final, between the Nationals and Tigers was cancelled due to a fight and stick swinging incident.
With the cancellation of the finals in 1923, the highlight of the season for local lacrosse fans was a tournament featuring the World Champion Montreal Shamrocks and two local teams the Tammany Tigers and the Fort Rouge Lacrosse club. While the result of the tournament was predictable- Montreal defeated both local squads, the display of lacrosse was a treat for the lacrosse enthusiasts.
The Free Press lavished praise on the play of the Bengals or Jungaleers (nick names used by the paper). Accounts in the daily papers described the play as “brilliant” and “excellent”. Accounts were full of this type of description: “Bengals fairly ran over their opponents and the results were never in doubt after the first few minutes”.
With the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s shift from a challenge series to a playoff format for the Mann Cup, the Tigers earned their way to the Mann Cup Finals in 1926 and 1928.
In 1926, after winning the Manitoba championship, the Tigers won the Western Canadian Senior Lacrosse championship defeating the Ocean Falls squad from BC 13 to 12 in a two game total goal series. The series played at Sherburn Park started with the visiting squad winning by a margin of one goal 6 to 5. In the second game the home side bounced back with an 8 to 6 victory that earned them the right to travel to Toronto to play the Weston Westonmen for the Mann Cup.
The travel weary Tigers (arriving only 4 hours prior to their first game) did not fair well in Toronto- playing competitively the Tigers lost by two. In the second game the Manitoba squad did not do as well losing by an 11 to 3 score.
In 1928, the Tigers captured the Manitoba crown and the Western title and traveled to Ottawa to take on the Ontario champion Ottawa Emmets. The Tiger’s played with great effort, but they were unable to keep up with talented Ottawa squad losing both games in the two game total point series.
With a greater focus on football, The Tammany Tigers reduced the number of sports in which they operated teams. Many of their best lacrosse players moved to the rival Argonaughts.
In the 1920’s, the Tammany Tigers produced a number of great athletes- most competing in more than one sport. Dick Buckingham a defender with the Tigers lacrosse and hockey teams went on to win Manitoba championships with the Argonauts and the Wellingtons. In 1932, Dick was selected to play for Canada at the 1932 Olympics.
The best all round athlete to emerge from the Tammany program was Art Shaw. Art who was an excellent track and field athlete and a leading scorer on the Tammany hockey and lacrosse teams went on the play quarterback for the Tigers in the 1925 Grey Cup Game. In 1970, Shaw was selected as one of the top five athletes in the first hundred years of Manitoba.
The contribution of the Tammany Tigers to the long history of Manitoba lacrosse deserves a special place in the Manitoba Lacrosse Hall of Fame.