The Westmount Sports & Recreational Department established a lacrosse program in the spring of 2006. It was organized by Westmount resident, Tim Murdoch, long-time head coach of the McGill University’s men’s varsity lacrosse team. The “Rec” lacrosse program grew quickly from 32 players in 2006 to over 120 players by 2008, supported by McGill student-athletes as youth coaches. The Westmount Lynx Lacrosse Club, a competitive team that features three age groups, was co-founded in 2009 as a natural extension of the “Rec” program by Tim Murdoch, Oliver Sugden, and Brian Kreisman, Westmount neighbors who have remained members of the Westmount Lynx’s advisory board.
In 2013 Peter Zabierek, a former college and club lacrosse player and experienced youth field lacrosse coach, took over both Westmount’s “Rec” program and the Westmount Lynx. Coach Zabierek has quickly refreshed Westmount’s lacrosse programs and the full support of the City of Westmount’s Recreation Department, offering expanded practice times and instruction from NCP-certified coaches to new and beginning players so they may develop skills in a non-competitive environment. The Lynx provide competitive opportunities for more developed players in both a spring and fall schedule.
As of 2018 “Coach Z” had to step back from running the club and a group of willing and able parents stepped in to carry the club forward. Jamie Henderson, Quyn Giao-Pham and Glenn Harrison have taken on operations, finance and coaching programs within the club and have helped give the Lynx a pivotal role in the development of the sport in Quebec. This addition of resources with a varied background as participants, administrators and coaches wth several youth and adult sports clubs puts the Lynx on a great track to expand our presence in the local community and beyond and to grow the maker’s game across the City.
The Lynx are committed to being an integral part of the growth of the sport that now features three nearby university teams at McGill, Bishop’s and Concordia, plus a new league among Quebec’s francophone universities. Alumni of the Westmount Lynx include several players who have received NCAA and prep school lacrosse scholarships. Long before Westmount had a rebirth of the game of lacrosse in 2006, the team’s recently re-sodded home field, the Westmount Athletic Grounds or “WAG,” served as a primary field for Montreal men’s lacrosse played in the late 1800s.
The following newspaper story will give you a better sense of our history.
Adapted from the Westmount Examiner, January 4, 2012
For Tim Murdoch, founder of the Westmount Lynx field lacrosse team, the game’s rubber ball and wooden stick are symbols of a deeply rooted unity between European and First Nations cultures. “When my son was a young boy, the first game I brought him to was a field lacrosse game in Kahnawake,” Murdoch said, adding that lacrosse has been Canada’s national sport since long before Jacques Cartier first sailed up the St. Lawrence.
“Lacrosse has always been a treasure in the Mohawk culture,” he continued. “In the Mohawk tradition, a lot of men are buried with their lacrosse sticks and I’m just barely scratching the surface of what the game means for them.” The integration of Anglophone, francophone and First Nations players has created a sense of deep appreciation of the sport among the Westmount team. This passion resulted in three 10th grade teammates – Marc-Antoine Pion of Montreal, Kahnawake’s Cougar Kirby and Ville St. Laurent’s Louis-Guillaume Lemay – to be selected to represent Quebec as Canada’s Top-30 prospects for Inside Lacrosse.
While this accomplishment sets the Westmount Lynx another step closer to proving themselves to be the province’s best field lacrosse team, Murdoch’s greatest memory of the season is watching the team play on the Kahnawake field. “It was incredible watching an animated crowd of Westmount and Kahanwakean parents sitting together to watch their boys’ faces light up when passing around the ball and performing quite well. That’s what we are all excited about, combining these two communities.” Watching the game being played with wooden sticks that day in Kahnawake brought flashbacks of Murdoch’s childhood playing lacrosse on Winchester Avenue with his friends Oliver Sugden and Brian Kreisman.
“The Winchester Boys” would later pass on the Lacrosse legacy to their children and establish the Westmount Lynx. This boys’ under-16 field lacrosse team competes against Greater Montreal-area high schools and several American clubs. Dreaming to see a major revival in the sport, Murdoch felt it was important to incorporate Kahnawake players to bring the Westmount team full-circle. The sport originated as a First Nations ceremonial ritual to give thanks to the Creator. After observing this ritual-sport practiced by the Iroquois, Jean de Brebeuf, the French Jesuit missionary was the first European to record the game. In 1867, J. B. L. Flynn founded the Shamrock Lacrosse Club of Montreal in Westmount. Before hockey overtook lacrosse at the turn of the 20th century, thousands of Montrealers regularly attended the Lacrosse Grounds at the northwest corner of Ste. Catherine Street and Atwater Avenue, to watch the Shamrocks compete in the world championships.