Pacific Coast Soccer League
The Saga of the PCSL
Today’s Pacific Coast Soccer League began operating in 1995 and in 2010 enters its 16th year of operation. However, the PCSL has known several incarnations in its fractured and tumultuous history beginning in 1908 when a league was formed including teams from the Lower Mainland, the Island and Washington State. The following is a time line of the various editions of the league.
1908 – Pacific Coast Association Football League.
On July 27, 1908 the Vancouver Daily Province reported that “The Pacific Coast Association Football League was organized at a meeting in Victoria on Saturday. Con Jones, of this city, is the first president of the new league and Will Ellis, secretary-treasurer. R. Heindmarch of Ladysmith is vice president.”
The Pacific Coast Association Football League included teams from Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Seattle, in Washington State. Play began in September of 1908 and ended in February 1909 with Nanaimo winning the league championship.
The 1909 annual meeting was held in Seattle, Washington on March 7, at which time it was decided that the league would not operate during the following winter but would resume play in the summer of 1910.
In January of 1910, the name of the league was changed to the British Columbia Professional Association Football League, with soccer following lacrosse by going professional. On March 25, 1910 the first game in the new league was played. The first professional soccer game to be played in Canada took place at Recreation Park in Vancouver between two Vancouver teams the Rovers and the Callies with the Callies winning 3-0. However, the professional league, which involved just these two clubs, appears to have collapsed after one short season.
1925 – Pacific Coast Inter-City League
On June 15, 1925 the Vancouver Sun, reported that. “Soccer football history was made at Nanaimo Saturday night when the Pacific Coast Inter-City League came into being, with ten of the strongest teams in the province combining. Nanaimo City, Nanaimo G.W.V.A., Ladysmith, Cumberland, Victoria, St. Andrews, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Varsity and St. Saviours were the teams which formed themselves into a separate association last night and pledged themselves to begin the season in September to play during October and November and February and March. December and January will be dropped on accaount of climatic conditions.”
Officers elected were C.G. Callin (Ladysmith) president, Edwin Dickenson of North Vancouver vice president, Tommy Christie, secretary-treasurer. Mainland members of the new executive are Thomas Fawkes, president of the L.M.F.A. and Bob Wilkinson of New Westminster. Island members are Coupland and Thornycroft.”
The new league was officially recognized at the annual meeting of the BCFA on July 25, 1925. The Pacific Coast Inter-City League commenced play on Labor Day 1925 with a game between North Vancouver and Nanaimo City.
During the 1925-26 and 1926-27 seasons the clubs in the PCL played a knock out competition for the McDonald Cup in addition to their regular league schedule. The cup was donated to the league by the Robert McDonald Jewelry Company of Vancouver at a meeting held in Nanaimo on October 23, 1925. The first winners in the spring of 1926 were Ladysmith F.C. who defeated Vancouver St. Saviours in the two game final by an aggregate score of 5-4. The same two teams met in the 1927 final and Ladysmith won again by an aggregate score 3-1. The Ladysmith line up in the second game was Orr - Smart, Thomson - Halliman, Halliday, Heaps - Rafter, Jackson, Tuffy Davies, Dan Kulai and Strang.
In the summer of 1926 a team representing the Pacific Coast League, played the English F.A. touring team in Vancouver and were soundly beaten 9-1. The PCSL team was Orr (Canadian Collieries) – George Anderson (Westminster United), Ernie Edmunds (Nanaimo) – Jack Monaghan (Canadian Collieries), George Russell (Westminster United), Dickie Stobbart (Nanaimo) – Fred Wilson (North Shore United), Alex Cameron (Varsity), Alex Fowler (Canadian Collieries), Martin (Westminster United), Hitchens (Canadian Collieries).
The Vancouver Sun of February 27, 1926 reports that “Charlie Callin resigned as president of the Pacific Coast Football League which is at open war with the Lower Mainland Football League, at a meeting in Nanaimo last night. Mr. Callin is president of the BCFA, the provincial governing body, and found that he could not serve the two acceptably. A committee was appointed to find a new president.”
The internal warfare between the various B.C. soccer organizations continued into 1927, when the Dominion of Canada Football Association appointed a commission to administer soccer in B.C.
1930 – Pacific Coast League
The third Pacific Coast League was formed August 30, 1930 with Archie Sinclair as president and Vic Sortwell as secretary. However, it was not until September 18, 1930 that a full meeting was held to appoint officers. On that day James Corral was elected president and Robert ‘Bob’ Davidson, secretary/treasurer. The opening game was played on September 27, between two Vancouver teams St. Andrews and St. Saviours. The league continued to operate until 1934.
Westminster Royals and Nanaimo City met in the first play off final with the Royals winning 4-0 on the Mainland and Nanaimo winning 3-2 in the Coal City. Thus the Royals won 6-3 on aggregate and were awarded the Con Jones Memorial Trophy following the May 28 game.
1931-32 – The annual meeting of the PCFL was held August 22, adjourned, and then continued on August 29. George Kilgour Morton was elected president.
1932-33 – The annual meeting of the PCFL was held on Saturday, August 20. George Kilgour Morton was re-elected president and Robert ‘Bob’ Davidson, secretary/treasurer. At this meeting it was decided that the organization would govern itself and become the Pacific Coast Football Association, splitting from the B.C.F.A.
1933-34 – The annual meeting of the PCFL was held August 19, but not completed, and reconvened August 29. Confusion reigned. Bob Davidson acted as both president and secretary at the meeting.
1935-38 An Inter-Cities League was formed out of the collapse of the PCFL with basically the same teams. By this time the financial depression was hitting soccer hard and attendances were down.
1939 – Pacific Coast League
The new Pacific Coast League came into being in September of 1939 with Tommy Nelson as the president and Jock Hendry as the secretary. It continued to operate through the years of World War Two with Tommy Nelson as the President.
At the annual meeting of August 23, 1947, Scotty McNair was elected President while Jock Hendry remained as the secretary. In the following three years Jim Seggie was President and Bill Findler the Secretary.
At various times in the years that followed Jock Hendry was President, as was G.G. Lunn, Bob Paton and Charles Alcock. The Secretary for most of these years was Horace Lear.
In 1956 the PCSL switched from a Fall-Winter schedule to a Summer schedule. This system lasted for three summers before at the 1959 meeting the league reverted to a Fall-Winter schedule.
1960 saw the election of Bill Findler as president for the first of three, three year terms. Findler came to B.C. from Alberta just before Christmas 1930, and played for the Westminster Royals, Vancouver St. Andrews and Vancouver North Shore in the PCFL throughout the 1930s. He was followed at the helm by Len Burkinshaw, Ken Howarth and Fred Whittaker. Bill Legge was the secretary.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, the league awarded the Austin Delany Memorial Trophy to its Most Valuable Player. Delany an outstanding player with Westminster Royals in the 1920s and 1930s, turned to journalism when his playing career was over, and wrote for many years for the Vancouver Sun and Province. Some of the winners of the Trophy were Ken Pears (1962), Bob Bissett (1964), Tony Canta (1965), Greg Weber (1970) and Dave Stothard.