Down Memory Lane - Steve d'Easum
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington
To look at him, you would suspect that his game was playing handball against a curb. Small in stature, some of the munchkins of Oz were taller.
"Stump", as his teammates affectionately called him, was always the butt of jokes - "his family tree was a shrub" or "his arms are so short, he had to jump up to comb his hair".
But in the rough, tough game of lacrosse, five-foot-five Steve d'Easum stood tall in ability - a defensive specialist with uncanny playmaking prowess.
Opponents who snickered while peering over Steve's head failed to consider the 180 pounds packed on him like a fire hydrant. They were soon rocked back to reality.
D'Easum grew up in Coquitlam during the 1950's but his dreams were always wrapped up in the Salmonbellies' blue and red. He and buddy played soccer during the winter, but when spring came around, they peddled their bikes to the Hume Park box in New Westminster's Sapperton district.
His first crack at a national championship came in 1966 when Sapperton captured the Canadian Junior "B" title. The next two years were spent with the Junior "A" Salmonbellies plus a 13-game "call-up" with the Senior "A" 'Bellies.
Then, in 1969, 21-year-old Steve graduated to a permanent spot on the senior club to begin a 21-year collaboration as a player and coach.
Those first three Senior "A" seasons were a dream come true for the rugged d'Easum - 211 league points, another 63 in playoffs, three all-star team rankings, and one Mann Cup ring.
But, in 1972, a serious knee injury set him down for half a season and limited his ability to deke around (or under) opposing players for clear shots on goal. No matter! New Westminster had many goal scorers so Steve played the Wayne Gretsky role as a set-up man and honed his defensive specialty to a fine art.
In 1977, Steve was pressed into service as the 'Bellies' playing-coach but chafed under the dual portfolio. He retired the following season to concentrate solely on coaching; however, the urge to get back into the action on the floor was too great so, in 1979, he abandoned the coaching reins and again donned the players' harness.
Steve played another six years until, an age just short of 37, he packed away his pads for good to begin his second round of coaching.
Four years later, he left the game.
"I'll miss it", he explained to a reporter, "(but) it just got to be too much. I take the game too seriously and it became too physically draining".
With a quick smile , he added: "Next year I'll just sit up in a corner and offer my critique""
The memories old Stump carried into retirement stacked up higher than his tippy-toe reach - 164 goals and 689 assists for 853 points in 539 games, five Mann Cup rings in eight attempts as a player and a sixth Mann Cup title as a coach. He was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1993.
Who ever said a man of small stature couldn't stand tall in a big man's game? The personably Steve d'Easum certainly shattered that theory.