Hall of Fame Inductee page:

 Ross Powless


  • Inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame -  Class of  2020/21
  • Inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame  - Class of 1969
  • Charter Member of the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame

Featured Story:

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame announcement of the induction of Ross Powless (2020)


Considered one of the fathers of modern lacrosse in Canada, Ross Powless was born in Ohsweken Ontario, on the Six Nations of the Grand River in 1926.  Belonging to the Turtle clan, Mohawk nation (Kanien'kehá:ka) of the Haudenosaunee, or Six Nations Confederacy, Ross spent five years at the Mohawk Institute Indigenous Residential School in Brantford, Ontario as a child.  Lacrosse, the Creator’s game, which holds deep spiritual and cultural significance for the Haudenosaunee people, offered Ross a powerful way to reclaim his heritage after enduring extreme deprivation and isolation from family and culture at residential school. Taking up lacrosse at the age of 12, his exceptional skill and dedication quickly caught the attention of teams across Canada and the United States.

Disciplined and fair, Ross Powless could not help but raise the profile of lacrosse wherever he played the game.  Between 1951 and 1953, he won three consecutive Canadian Senior A championship titles with the Peterborough Timbermen.  In 1951 and 1952, he claimed the Tom Longboat Award twice as the most outstanding First Nations athlete in Ontario. In 1953, he was awarded the Mike Kelley Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player in Canadian Senior A lacrosse.  As player-coach of Hamilton Lincoln Burners Senior “A” team between 1956 and 1958, Ross won every Ontario Lacrosse Association trophy he was eligible to claim, including the league scoring championship, Most Valuable Player, Best Defensive Player and Coach of the Year.

A formidable coach, Ross Powless led both Indigenous and non-Indigenous teams to lacrosse championships at every level of competition, from divisional to international tournaments.  An inspiring mentor and knowledge keeper, possessing encyclopedic knowledge of lacrosse, he helped players improve their skills and confidence to fulfill their potential. Among his many coaching highlights, Ross led the Canadian Senior Men’s Lacrosse Team to defeat the United States at Expo ‘67 in Montreal.  In 1974, he coached six of his own sons on the Ontario First Nations Team to claim the national title in the North American Indian Lacrosse Tournament in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Despite encountering discrimination and racism from spectators and opposing teams, Ross Powless continually broke down barriers for Indigenous peoples with his exemplary sportsmanship, athleticism, championship calibre coaching and organizational leadership.

Not only did Ross demonstrate his leadership skills in sports, he showed them in his community leadership. Ross served his community at Six Nations of the Grand River as the Band Administrator, housing inspector, and band councillor, while concurrently developing many new sport and recreation opportunities for Indigenous athletes. In 1997, the Ontario Recreation Association recognized his efforts and achievements with the Volunteer Service Award. Several of Ross’ children participated on award-winning lacrosse teams or assisted in lacrosse team development. His son, Gaylord Powless, who was inducted to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, stands out as one of the great lacrosse players taught and inspired by Ross. Honouring his children and grandchildren with traditional Iroquois wooden lacrosse sticks hand-crafted by local Indigenous artisans, made at Six Nations of the Grand River, Ross Powless never stopped inspiring the next generations to build on the dynamic foundation he had helped establish for the sport. Ross Powless passed away a respected elder in his community in 2003.

Major Achievements

Box Lacrosse Athlete, TeamsLocations – 29 year Award & Championship Winning Career 

1938 - Started playing lacrosse at Six Nations of the Grand River, age 12

194- Player, Indian Arrows Senior Men’s Lacrosse team, Vancouver, (team later renamed North Shore Indians)Intercity Lacrosse League, British Columbia, coached by Andy Paul, President North American Indian Brotherhood

 1946- 1947 – Player, Junior Lacrosse, Six Nations of the GrandRiver & Brantford

1947 – Player, Port Dover, Junior B Men’s Lacrosse, Ontario Lacrosse Association (played in Junior A league)

1948 – 1949 – Player, Detroit, Can Am Intermediate Lacrosse League, USA

1948 - 1949-Player, Buffalo Bisons, National Lacrosse Association, USA

1949 – Player -Brantford Intermediate Lacrosse  

1949 -1950 – Player, Huntsville Hawks, Senior B, Eastern Canadian Champions, Ontario

1951-1953– Peterborough Timbermen (then 1953 renamed Trailermen)-  won Canadian Senior Men’s Lacrosse - Dominion Mann Cup, 3 consecutive years

19541955Player, St. Catharines Athletics,(St.Kitts), Senior A Men’s Lacrosse

1955 - Player-coach for Lewiston, New York, and Tuscarora Indian Reserve, won Senior B Eastern Canadian Championships

1956 – 1958(2 years) -Player-coach for Hamilton Lincoln Burners Senior “A” Lacrosse -  won Most Valuable Player, Top Scorer, Best Defensive Player and Coach of the Year Awards the league scoring championship and every Ontario Lacrosse Association trophy 

1956 – Player, Peterborough Trailermen, Dominion Mann Cup Playoffs, lost to Nanaimo Timbermen

1959 – Player, Welland-Crowland Switzons, Senior A Men’s Lacrosse

1960 – Player, Brantford Warriors Senior B Men’s Lacrosse, Season’s Top Point scorer

1961 – Player, St. Catharines Athletics Senior A Men’s Lacrosse

1964 - 1967 – Player, Hagersville Warriors/Oshweken Warriors, won President’s Cup Senior B Men’s Lacrosse, moved to Brantford as Brantford Supertest Warriors


1951 and 1952,Tom Longboat Award for Best First Nations Athlete in Ontario, Canada - twice

1953 - Mike Kelley Memorial Trophy for Series Most Valuable Player, Mann Cup Finals, 

(Canadian Senior Lacrosse Championships

1956 – 1958 - Most Valuable Player, Top Scorer, Best Defensive Player and Coach of the Year Awards as Player-coach for Hamilton Lincoln Burners Senior “A” Lacrosse, from Ontario Lacrosse Association 

1997 - Volunteer Service Award of the Ontario Municipal Recreation Association. Six Nation Parks and Recreation stated, “Ross is responsible for making the Powless name synonymous with the game of Lacrosse.”


1969 - Inducted  to Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Charter Member of Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame 

1984 - Inducted to Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition

2002 – Inducted with Peterborough Timbermen (1951-1954) Team to Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame

In 1974, Ross coached six of his own sons on the Ontario First Nations Team to claim the national title in the North American Indican Lacrosse Tournament in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

 ross powless and sons








Related Content:

 Wikipedia article