Leo Nicholson - Voice of Lacrosse
New Westminster Salmonbellies CJOR 1934-45 except NHL
Canadiens home broadcaster Montreal 1941-42;
broadcast baseball, boxing, wrestling, basketball and auto racing; first
play-by-play announcer for the amateur Pacific Coast Hockey League Vancouver
Canucks Home Gas Hockey Broadcast CKMO Vancouver; most valuable lacrosse
goalkeeper award Leo Nicholson Memorial Trophy named in his honour. Died
CJOR was the
CJOR begat radio station CHRX which, in turn, begat CKBD. On Sunday, CKBD spurned the crass materialistic world of professional sports to devote itself to religious broadcasts.
Back 50 or 60 years ago, when CJOR
completely dominated the local market, it was the only radio station in all of
Leo Nicholson, a superb broadcaster, provided the play-by-play description of the lacrosse and hockey games. Jack Short was the voice of the races.
CJOR, owned by George Chandler,
had its studios in the basement of the Grosvenor
Back in the 1930s, when CJOR was
number one, without any serious challengers, the station had an outstanding
crew of announcers, including Dick Diespecker, Dorwin Baird and Gerry Willmott
(who later went to
Local historians are stretching the point only slightly when they suggest that Leo Nicholson invented box-lacrosse. However, the new indoor game was merely limping along until Leo began to provide his play-by-play descriptions on CJOR. Almost overnight, lacrosse became the hottest ticket in town. Nicholson made it sound so exciting that the listening public filled the arenas.
I heard them all -- and Leo Nicholson, with his well enunciated, machine-gun delivery was the greatest of lacrosse announcers.
Winnipeg-born Leo “Nick” Nicholson
began to broadcast box lacrosse games in
Leo Nicholson, a radio play-by-play announcer with an incredibly exciting delivery, established lacrosse locally as "the fastest game on two feet."
Leo was a colorful character. Born
After he married and was divorced
from a film actress, he came to
Box lacrosse, an indoor-arena
game, had been invented a couple of years earlier in
Radio was the major source of home
entertainment in 1933. Most people were devotees of the Saturday night hockey
Leo damn' nearly ruptured his vocal cords as he described the action. Yelping into his microphone, he was Excitement Personified and his dynamic description of the games took the city by storm.
Soon, there were block-long lineups for a ticket-office in the United Cigar Store at Granville and Dunsmuir. And, they priced lacrosse correctly for a Depression-era sport - tickets were 35 cents.
The league initially comprised the
They provided fantastic entertainment in packed arenas, right up until the early years of the Second World War. The sentimental favorites were the Indians, composed almost entirely of native longshoremen.
Don Tyerman, of The Province, was Nicholson's back-up man on radio. Occasionally Don had to take over the mike for a few minutes when Leo's excitement over-strained his voice and, momentarily, he was struck speechless.
Leo Nicholson became a
In 1943, the
Leo deserves his niche in the Hall of Fame. He "made" box lacrosse a success in this part of the world. In his era, he was local radio's unchallenged one-man show.
Most of the info on this page from the late Jim Coleman