Welcome to Season 2 of The Lacrosse Legends Podcast Series
Russ was introduced to lacrosse in Saskatchewan through master coach Al Luciuk. He played some senior men’s lacrosse and began coaching youth in 1995. He moved to Nunavut as a teacher in 1998 and began the Kugluktuk Grizzlies lacrosse program in 1999. Soon after, he formed Nunavut Lacrosse.
The journey of his program and the amazing impact the game had on the disenfranchised youth of the region has been captured in the recent release of the full-length motion picture “The Grizzlies.”
This Lacrosse Talk will tell the story behind the initiative and the movie and will be of great interest to all who love this game.
His involvement with the game did not end with the Grizzlies. Russ moved to Edmonton in 2005 and helped found the Edmonton Razorbacks. He coached the Midget A Warriors, the Sherwood Park Titans Junior B, Team Alberta Box Midget and Bantam, and Team Alberta U16 and U19.
He signed a Life Rights Movie deal in 2006 for the Grizzlies program and helped start and build the Vimy Ridge Lacrosse Academy. Russ moved to Toronto in 2008 to become the dean of students and the assistant lacrosse coach for the Hill Academy. In 2009, he coached the Sherwood Park Titans and Attended law school in Edmonton.
In 2012, he moved to Cranbrook, B.C. where he started the Badgers Field Lacrosse Program, became Chair of B.C. Coaches in 2014 and assisted in growing Cranbrook Box Lacrosse.
As an administrator, Russ was a board member of the Canadian Lacrosse Association for six years and the B.C. Coaches Chair since 2014. Russ has worked with over 30 athletes who went on to play lacrosse in college in Canada or the NCAA. He is a master learning facilitator for box and field lacrosse, a writer of both box and field lacrosse manuals, and has worked with the CLA coaching committee for many years. Overall, he has helped to train thousands of coaches across Canada.
Don started playing as a nine-year-old in 1949 in Peterborough. He played minor lacrosse in Peterborough and went on to play senior lacrosse in Brooklyn, Peterborough, Sorel, Montreal, Quebec City and Hastings.
He started coaching in the Peterborough minor system in 1960, winning 10 Ontario titles and went on to coach Junior A lacrosse in Peterborough in 1970, 1971 and 1977. He advanced to coach the Major A Lakers in 1998 where he was named MSL Coach of the Year. At the professional level, he was assistant coach with the NLL Philadelphia Wings in 1974 and head coach of the Maryland Arrows in 1975.
At the international level, Don was an assistant coach of the Canadian Field Lacrosse Team in 1978, again in 1982, and was convener of the team in 1990.
Don started writing a weekly sports column in the Peterborough Examiner in 1995, and continues to do so today. In 2008, he wrote a 600-page history of lacrosse in Peterborough: “Lacrosse: The Peterborough Way”. He went on to write two novels on lacrosse, Moon and Me (2009) and Stickman (2012).