Dr. George Beers
Birth: Montreal, Quebec, May 5, 1843
Died: December 26, 1900
Career Highlights1860 - Published pamphlet outlining rules of Lacrosse
1867 - Formed National Lacrosse Association
1869 - Published Lacrosse, the National Game of Canada
1876, 1883 - Toured British Isles with Canadian Lacrosse Team
1965 - Inducted, Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame
Often called the Father of Lacrosse, Dr. George Beers was the first person to codify the rules of this sport. A fine athlete, he was a lacrosse goaltender for many years before turning his talents toward organizing and popularizing the game. In 1860, he published a pamphlet outlining basic aspects of lacrosse including the size of the playing field, the number of players, the names of positions, the nature of goals, the definition of illegal play, and the duration of matches. In 1869, he further expanded his writings on the sport in a book entitled Lacrosse, the National Game of Canada.
Adapted from an Aboriginal game referred to as baagga’adowe by the Ojibwe people, lacrosse gained popularity throughout Canada in the 1800s. Dr. Beers, in an effort to promote lacrosse overseas, took the first Canadian lacrosse team on two tours of the British Isles in 1876 and 1883. On the first tour, they played before Queen Victoria at Windsor.
Dr. Beers is also known for his significant influence on the organization and administration of sports in general. In 1867, he formed the National Lacrosse Association, a conglomerate of 29 clubs from Quebec and Ontario which has been used as a model for other national sports associations. He was also a leading figure in the formation of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA).
Dr. Beers was not only a man of sport but also a man of science. A dentist by profession, he was the founder of the Canadian Journal of Dental Science. He had the largest dental practice in Montreal by 1880 and wrote over 200 articles for medical and dental journals during his lifetime.