Daily Archives: September 2, 2013

Legends Of Lacrosse: Harry J. Smith AKA “Jay Silverheels” Became Actor Who Played “Tonto” In “The Lone Ranger” In The 1950’s; Discovered While Playing Indoor “Box” Lacrosse For Six Nations


“…How Smith, a lacrosse star of the Six Nations of the Grand River, became Silverheels, an actor who despised his own portrayal of an Indian, is a story that spans a continent and an era.

Harry J. Smith was discovered by Hollywood while on a barnstorming tour out West.

Harry J. Smith was discovered by Hollywood while on a barnstorming tour out West.

But few realize that what put him on the path to Hollywood was the invention of indoor lacrosse — box lacrosse, as it is called in Canada and western New York.”

At Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville, Ontario, the home of the Six Nations Chiefs, box lacrosse champions of eastern Canada, a photograph from 1931 hangs on the wall. Gazing ahead resolutely and gripping a lacrosse stick is a handsome dark-haired Mohawk man with a bandage over his right brow.

Jay Silverheels as Tonto in Lone Ranger with Clayton Moore

From left, Jay Silverheels, as Tonto; Silver; and Clayton Moore in “The Lone Ranger.”

That man was Harry J. Smith, but many years later, he became known to the world as Jay Silverheels, the actor who played Tonto in the “The Lone Ranger,” a television series that ran from 1949 to 1957. This summer, there is renewed interest in Silverheels, after Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Tonto in the big-budget film “Lone Ranger.”

“He would never have been discovered, never have become Tonto, if he hadn’t been in L.A. to play box lacrosse,” said the historian Larry Power, compiler of the Internet archive Bible of Lacrosse.

By JEFF Z. KLEIN

By JEFF Z. KLEIN

Playing on the fields at Six Nations, Harry Smith excelled at lacrosse at a time when the game was undergoing a profound change. In 1931, the owners of the N.H.L.’s Montreal and Toronto franchises needed to fill summertime dates at their buildings. Their solution: shrink traditional lacrosse to 7 men a side from 12 and move it indoors to the Forum and to Maple Leaf Gardens. Professional box lacrosse was born, with Smith a player on the Toronto Tecumsehs.

The concept took off, and within a couple of years, arenas, municipal auditoriums and armories across Ontario and New York State were hosting the “fastest game on two feet.” Smith and his colorfully nicknamed brothers and cousins, including Russell (Beef), Sid (Porky) and George (Chubby), starred on teams in Toronto; Buffalo; Rochester; Atlantic City; and Akron, N.Y.

For more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/sports/a-sidekicks-little-known-leading-role-in-lacrosse.html

Team USA Lacrosse: Duke Men’s Lacrosse Faceoff Specialist Brendan Fowler Talks About 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team Tryouts (Video)


Duke faceoff man Brendan Fowler talks about going through tryouts for the 2014 U.S. men’s national team.