Down Memory Lane - Lew Landess
Down Memory Lane Articles - by Stan Shillington
His career often fell beneath the shadows cast by the lucent brilliance of the Gold Dust Twins, life-long buddies and .
But Lew Landess had a penchant for kindling his own torch of splendor.
While Browning snapped up the goals on pinpoint passes from Whitey, Landess was snapping up loose balls like a high-powered vacuum cleaner. And, most often, the ball had popped out of the stick of a player checked into ineffectiveness by the quiet-spoken defensive specialist.
Still, Lew accumulated more than 400 senior points in Ontario and British Columbia.
Landess, born in New Westminster on February 4, 1927, began tinkering with a lacrosse stick at the age of eight, lining up with the East Burnaby Owls. Two years later, he joined 's Salmonbellies' peewee team, thus embarking on the lengthy collaboration and close friendship with the Gold Dust Twins.
The trio moved up together through the Royal City minor divisions and, although not yet out of their teens, turned senior in 1945 with the New Westminster Adanacs. Lew acquitted himself well but decided the next year to return to junior division (he still played "up" several times) and, in 1947 was a member of the B.C. All-Star team that made an unsuccessful bid for the Minto Cup.
In 1949, Browning was lured to the powerful Brampton Excelsiors, earning all-star status with a 114-point season. Hey, if one Royal City product could do that, what could three do? So, in 1950, Brampton beckoned Severson and Landess to Ontario - the trio responded with a total of 219 points.
While still in Brampton, Browning wrote to New Westminster Adanacs seeking employment if he returned home, but he received no reply. Instead, the new Victoria Shamrocks senior team enticed both Gold Dust Twins to the Island city for the 1951 season with promised employment. With a job awaiting him in his hometown, Landess joined the amalgamated Salmonacs.
Landess spent 1951 and 1952 with New Westminster, 1953 with the PNE Indians and then back with New West in 1954. But his old buddies in Victoria hadn't forgotten Lew or his value to a team. When the Shamrocks made the Mann cup finals against Peterborough in 1953 and 1954, Lew was summonsed as a "pickup" player to bolster Victoria's defense.
Finally, in 1955, Landess moved full time to Victoria, aiding the Shamrocks to Mann Cup titles in 1955 and 1957 before retiring as an active player in 1960.
Just five-feet-nine, 165 pounds, Lew used guile and skill, rather than cheap shots, to keep his opponents in check. In fact, he only had seven "major" penalties in his entire 292-game Western career.
One "major," though, was memorable. Near the end of a 1952 Victoria over New Westminster 15-11 game in Queens Park Arena, the 'Rocks gigantic had a huge grin on his face as he bullied his way down the floor, a smirk Landess decided to wipe away. Lew shook the former professional basketball star with a couple of jarring checks, prompting the angered Baker to retaliate with a heavy chop. Off came the gloves but Baker, with the grater reach landed several solid jabs before Lew hauled off with a telling roundhouse that found its target. Draw!
Another career highlight for Landess came in 1953 just after Lew joined the PNE Indians. Landess scored 16 hat tricks in his senior career: his lone, five-goal performance highlighted the season opener on April 28 against Vancouver.
Lew scored 245 goals and 117 assists for 362 points in the western Inter-City Lacrosse League and added another 29 goals and 15 assists with the 1950 Brampton Excelsiors.
Following his retirement, Landess kept his hand in the game. He took up coaching youngsters for eight years, guiding the Saanich Juvenile "A" teams to the 1963 and 1964 provincial titles and then piloting the Junior Shamrocks in 1965. Many of the youngsters who benefited from his mentoring eventually graduated to the senior level - Hall of Famers and , and , , , , , , and . Along with Browning, Lew was also instrumental in setting up the Esquimalt Lacrosse Association.
A splendid athletic career for an outstanding individual!