Ross Powless

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Ross Powless

Alexander (Ross) Powless (September 29, 1926 – May 26, 2003) was a Mohawk lacrosse player from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation near Brantford, Ontario. His exceptional play has been credited with reviving interest in box lacrosse in the 1950s.

He played with the Peterborough Timbermen when they won four consecutive Mann Cups from 1951 to 1954, during which time he lived for a while with his wife Wilma and son Gaylord in a tent at Fairy Lake, near Peterborough. He won the Mike Kelly Memorial Trophy for most valuable player in the series in 1953. In 1956, as player-coach for a Hamilton team, he won the league scoring championship and every Ontario Lacrosse Association trophy except for best goalie, for which he did not qualify.[1] As a coach he won three national championships at different levels, including one with a team including six of his sons at the North American Indian Lacrosse Tournament, which he later said was one of his biggest thrills. He twice won the Tom Longboat Award as Canada's outstanding First Nations athlete, and was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1969.

His last season as a player was in 1967 when he played for the Hagersville Warriors and in one game played in Whitby had the opportunity to play against his son Gaylord who was with the Oshawa Steelers. Ross and son Gaylord, are the only father and son inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Ross was a member of Local 18 of the Hamilton Carpenters Union and worked on the construction of the original Burlington Skyway Bridge in 1956, and was proud of the fact that his son Gary worked on the twinning bridge in 1986.

Ross was a player/coach with the Hamilton Lincoln Burners, and was involved with the formation of the Brantford Warriors.

He led the establishment of hockey and lacrosse leagues on the Six Nations reserve, and was a band councillor for eight years. In the 1970s, he coached the Brantford Warriors lacrosse team, which featured four of his sons, Gaylord, Gary, Harry and Greg. In 1997, he received the volunteer service award of the Ontario Municipal Recreation Association.

In later years, Ross was a building inspector on the Six Nations Reserve outside of Brantford, and he enjoyed spending time hunting with his dogs Lady and George. Ross was also an excellent pool player and joke teller.

Ross was the husband of Margaret Wilma Powless (Bomberry).

He was the father of Gaylord (deceased), Gail, Gary (deceased), Audrey, Greg(deceased), Harry, Arlene, Richard,Victor(deceased) Darryl, Karen, Tony, Jeff (deceased) and Jacqui. He had many, many grandchildren who he loved dearly.

He was the son of Chancey Powless and grandson of Peter Powless, and the nephew of Sam, Dick, Cecil, and Titus Van Every.


  1. ^ Beare, Ted. Expositor, Brantford Ontario, 27 May 2003: B1