Portland Buckaroos vs. Vancouver Canucks
October 28, 1964
That’s the late Canadian lacrosse superstar Jack Bionda on the cover of this 1964 Western Hockey League program, pictured as a member of the Portland Buckaroos. Bionda played parts of four seasons in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins from 1955 to 1959 and was a popular fixture on Portland’s Western League teams of the 1960’s up until his retirement in 1967.
But if Bionda was merely a talented ice hockey player, his reputation in Canadian lacrosse was Bunyan-esque. Throughout the 1950’s, he was considered Canada’s greatest lacrosse player despite periodic absences to play hockey. He played variously for the Kerrisdale Kerries, Victoria Shamrocks, New Westminster Salmonbellies and Nanaimo Tribesmen in senior amateur lacrosse. So dominant was Bionda that every time he changed teams, his new team won the Mann Cup championship of Canada.
On this night, his Portland Buckaroos struck for five 1st period goals against Vancouver Canucks goalie Gilles Boisvert and then held on for a 5-4 victory before the home crowd at Memorial Coliseum. Appearing on the program cover turned out to be a bad omen for Jack Bionda though. He ripped his knee ligaments in the game and would miss nearly all of the 1964-65 season.