By the early 1900's, lacrosse had reached its high point as a popular spectator sport. Games were being played against towns along the C.P.R.'s eastern railway line and into Sault Ste. Marie and Copper Cliff. An intense lacrosse rivalry developed between Sudbury and Copper Cliff and both teams began to import players from Southern Ontario in an effort to outplay each other.
In 1901, the New Ontario Lacrosse Association was formed, consisting of teams from Sudbury, Copper Cliff, and Sault Ste. Marie. Game schedules were created and the association adopted the rules of the National Amateur Lacrosse Association to ensure fair play.
One year later, a new lacrosse team was formed in Sudbury. It was called Tyee, a native word meaning four men in one. The team was later accepted into the Canadian Lacrosse Association and along with Copper Cliff, Sturgeon Falls, and North Bay, formed District One of the C.L.A.
During 1902, violence on the lacrosse field started to become an issue as players would engage in excessive force and scuffles. This resulted in some of the Southern Ontario league members voicing the opinion that the northern communities should be removed from the league for their misconduct, despite the fact that southern teams were equally violent in their games.
Over the next few years, enthusiasm for the sport began to decline in the Sudbury area and eventually, lacrosse faded away.
An attempt at revitalizing the sport was made in 1921, and a new team called the Sudbury Wolves (after the hockey club) was organized. The Wolves joined the Ontario Amateur Lacrosse Association and competed in and won the Northern Ontario championships.
However, despite the many attempts to keep the sport going, none took hold for very long. One of the most recent efforts was made in 1971 and resulted in many Sudbury junior lacrosse teams earning provincial titles.
Today, lacrosse is starting to regain some of its former popularity in Greater Sudbury.
For more information on lacrosse, visit the Greater Sudbury Lacrosse Association website.
Material compiled from Homegrown Heroes: A Sports History of Sudbury.