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Lacrosse Legend: The Story of Gaylord Powless

Faris Jamil - The Nation Post - Real Estate marketer & Analyzer
By: Faris jamil

The Nation Post

Gaylord Powless, a celebrated Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) lacrosse player from Six Nations of the Grand River, is a significant figure in the history of Indigenous sports in North America. His outstanding achievements and impact on the sport of lacrosse are evident in the details of his life and career:

Early Recognition:

At just 17 years old, Powless won the Tom Longboat Award, recognizing him as the best Indigenous athlete in Canada. This early achievement signaled his exceptional talent and potential in lacrosse.


Junior and Professional Career

His lacrosse career included playing for the Oshawa Green Gaels, a junior men’s box lacrosse team, where he was twice named MVP. Powless then progressed to a professional career, playing for teams like the Rochester Chiefs and the Detroit Olympics of the National Lacrosse Association, where he made a significant impact by scoring 63 goals in one season.

Innovative Techniques

One of Powless’s signature moves was the backhand shot, a skillful and deceptive technique that showcased his exceptional abilities and creativity on the field.

Legacy and Recognition

Powless’s contribution to lacrosse extended beyond his playing days. He faced and overcame racial challenges in the sport, becoming a trailblazer for future Indigenous lacrosse players. His induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2017 and the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame underscores his lasting impact on the sport and the Indigenous sports community.

Lacrosse Legend: The Story of Gaylord Powless

Community Influence

Beyond his personal achievements, Powless’s influence in his community is notable. His career provided exposure for other players from Six Nations, paving the way for their participation in professional leagues like the National Lacrosse League.

Personal Resilience

Despite facing physical challenges and racism, Powless’s resilience and dedication to lacrosse never waned. His ability to maintain a high level of play while dealing with adversities speaks to his character and commitment.

Family and Community Recognition

The decision to name a lacrosse arena in Six Nations after him, just before his passing from cancer in 2001, is a testament to his enduring legacy in his community and the sport of lacrosse.

Gaylord Powless’s life and career exemplify not only athletic excellence but also cultural and community impact, making him a revered figure in the history of Indigenous athletics and lacrosse.

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