Owen Sound joins Major Series Lacrosse as Brampton Excelsiors exit

Context and Circumstances Regarding the Media Release related to the Brampton Excelsiors franchise transferring to Owen Sound

Earlier today (November 14th), the news regarding the transfer of the Major Series Lacrosse Brampton Excelsiors team relocating to Owen Sound became public knowledge.  On October 15, the Major Series Lacrosse Board of Governors unanimously approved this franchise transfer.  Since that date, the MSL has been following the required protocol.  MSL Commissioner Doug Luey stated early today, “I am disappointed such significant lacrosse news broke via various social media outlets.  However, the MSL Board of Governors followed the Ontario Lacrosse Association process adhering to the Constitution and awaiting the final franchise transfer approval from the OLA Board of Directors”.

That being stated, below you will find the Media Release that was prepared weeks ago awaiting the appropriate time for release (after OLA approval - which has not yet happened).


Owen Sound joins Major Series Lacrosse as Brampton Excelsiors exit

The Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club has almost 150 years of history -  an organization known as one of the oldest and richest in tradition (the Excelsiors were initially recognized as a community-based organization in 1883).  Unfortunately, the club will no longer exist at the Major Series Lacrosse level (Over the years, the Brampton Excelsiors have won 11 Mann Cup championships, most recently in 2011).

In 2018, the Brampton Excelsiors Major Series team transitioned from community-based ownership when the franchise was transferred to Mr. Joe Norton, owner of the Detroit based Bug Juice company (Bug Juice has grown into the largest children’s drink company in the United States and has entered the Canadian market).

The new Brampton owner Joe Norton knew the status quo could not continue.  Despite concerted efforts by Mr. Norton to rejuvenate the organization to become a success, it did not happen.  Joe Norton’s business expertise and willingness to do what he could to market the team was simply not embraced by the Brampton lacrosse community. Joe Norton assessed the situation, “Our decision to move the team was not an easy one.  We have spent a considerable amount of money and endless hours working on ways to try to keep the team in Brampton.  From my perspective, the survival of the franchise depends on sponsorship, ticket sales and strong support of local government.  We spent a lot of time, money and effort to excel in each of these three areas.  Unfortunately, we could not get it done”. 

Shortly after purchasing the Brampton MSL team, Joe Norton also took over ownership and operation of the Owen Sound North Stars Senior “B” club of the OLA.  Prior to transferring the franchise to Joe Norton, the North Stars had been a community-based ownership organization.  Since 1967, Senior caliber lacrosse teams from Owen Sound have won six national and ten provincial titles.

This recent experience with the Senior “B” team has confirmed for Joe Norton the viability of an MSL team having success in Owen Sound.  Mr. Norton recited a number of facts for his reasoning noting  – “There is a loyal lacrosse fan base in Owen Sound along with a strong sponsorship base. In addition, the community has a large and supportive minor lacrosse program and supportive local media.  We believe in the MSL and the success that will be experienced in Owen Sound”.  Of note, in his application to transfer the Brampton team to Owen Sound, Mr. Norton had letters of support from the Owen Sound Senior team and minor lacrosse association.

Brief History of Owen Sound Senior Lacrosse 

Lacrosse in Owen Sound began in the late nineteenth century playing field lacrosse in the late 1800s.  In 1910 and 1911, the Owen Sound Alexandrias junior field lacrosse team captured the Canadian Lacrosse Association Junior Championship.

In 1911, the junior champions also challenged for the CLA Intermediate Field Lacrosse Championship. The Alexandrias defeated the Toronto Maitlands to claim their second league title in the same season.

By the 1930s, box lacrosse arrived on the Owen Sound local sporting scene.  As local players improved, in 1940 and 1941, the Owen Sound Georgians won the Ontario Lacrosse Association Senior “B” championship.

After winning the Senior “B” championship in 1941, the Georgians entered the Mann Cup playoffs. Although losing to Etobicoke, the joy for watching Senior “A” lacrosse was established in Owen Sound.

In 1942, the Georgians joined the Senior“A” loop successfully qualifying for the playoffs.  They were eliminated by the eventual Mann Cup champion Mimico-Brampton Combines.

The impact of the Second World War led to the shut down of Owen Sound Georgian Senior “A” club.  But Owen Sound returned to the Ontario Senior loop when the war ended.  The team was consistently competitive and in 1951 the Owen Sound Crescents won the Mann Cup – the one and only time Owen Sound has done so.

Since the Mann Cup championship in 1950, many Owen Sound lacrosse teams have enjoyed considerable success. Through the decades, Owen Sound lacrosse teams have celebrated winning six national Presidents Cup Senior “B” championships - 1979, 1980, 1989, 1991, 2008 and 2009.

MSL excited for Owen Sound lacrosse

MSL Commissioner Doug Luey

With the return of MSL caliber lacrosse to Owen Sound, Doug Luey, MSL Commissioner commented, “Major Series Lacrosse is excited and pleased to bring our brand of lacrosse to Owen Sound. We feel the Harry Lumley Bayshore Complex is the perfect venue for the best indoor lacrosse in Canada. Owen Sound lacrosse fans are among the most loyal and knowledgeable supporters of our national summer sport.

Having a young talented team, lacrosse fans can expect them to be competitive right out of the gate. Do not be surprised, if in the near future, the Owen Sound lacrosse community is celebrating a Mann Cup victory. However, before they get that far there are a few teams that they must defeat along the way including the 3-time defending Mann Cup champion Peterborough Century 21 Lakers. 

Major Series Lacrosse also include the Brooklin Lacrosse Club, Cobourg Kodiaks, Oakville Rock and the Six Nations Chiefs. What an opportunity to see the best box lacrosse players in the world right in your own community”.

Let’s hope the pandemic gets under control sooner than later, so lacrosse fans who hunger to watch the MSL, including those in Owen Sound can do so in 2021.