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Not your average lacrosse team

The Story

In 1957 a group of Victoria youths came together to form a lacrosse team. The majority of the ten- and eleven-year olds who made up the club were Indo-Canadians. Though they had never picked up a lacrosse stick in their lives, Punjab United went on to win six consecutive provincial championships. Nearly half a century later, two players from that team, Nirmal Dillon and Paul Pallan talk to CBC Radio's This Morning about how those summers spent playing lacrosse had a profound influence on them. "Lacrosse had a great impact on my life," admits Dillon. "It gave me a lot of confidence in myself . It's been a positive influence on my work environment and social life." Lacrosse not only allowed the boys to gain a sense of self-worth, but also helped them become accepted by what was then a racially insular society. "[Lacrosse was] a real great equalizer," explains Pallan "so it doesn't matter what kind of background you come from, you feel that you're accepted." 

Medium: Radio
Program: This Morning
Broadcast Date: May 9, 2001
Guests: Nirmal Dillon, Paul Pallan
Host: Shelagh Rogers
Duration: 12:47

Did You know?

• After Punjab United, Nirmal Dillon played for the Victoria Shamrocks of the Western Lacrosse Association. During his 11 years in the league he was named to the WLA All-Star team three times. He retired in 1975 and became a coach, leading the Esquimalt Legion Junior A team to the Minto Cup title in 1988, and the senior Shamrocks to the Mann Cup in 1997 and 1999. He was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1996.

• Paul Pallan was named British Columbia's Children's Commissioner in 1999. According to a provincial government Web site, the children's commission reviews "all child deaths in B.C. and critical injuries sustained by children in care" and addresses "complaints about breaches of the rights of children in care."



Lacrosse: A History of Canada's Game more