Jim MacDonell was instrumental in introducing minor lacrosse to the Township of Cornwall in the very early 1960's.
Organizational meetings were held in the fall of 1960 and spring of 1961 at his home in St. Andrews West, with a league being formed and started in the summer of 1961. Jim and Tony Wheeler represented St. Andrews, a group headed by Wally Barker and Reg McEwan represented Long Sault, Donald Thompson and Mervin MacIntyre represented Martintown, and Father Arsenault , Jim Summers and Frank Benedict represented St. Regis. In 1963, Morrisburg, represented by Ralph Duvall and Steve Casselman, also joined the new league. Games were played on outdoor rinks on Cornwall Island, Martintown, St. Andrews and Glen Walter, with arenas in Long Sault and Morrisburg also hosting games.
Jim was not only a convenor of the newly-formed minor lacrosse association, but also coached at various levels. He and his wife June had seven boys who all got their first taste of lacrosse through the league which Jim helped found in 1961.
The highlight of Jim's coaching career took place in 1965 at the Ontario Championship tournament in Peterborough. With Wally Barker as the team manager, they chose an All-Star peewee team from St. Andrews, Martintown, Long Sault and Morrisburg to compete against the best in Ontario. They not only held their own, but they came home with the Ontario Peewee C Championship.
In the early 1970's, Jim continued to develop lacrosse in the area by starting a junior team to represent the Township of Cornwall. He was the owner and president of the Cornwall Township Patriots from 1971 as a Junior C franchise, and from 1972 to 1975 as a Junior B franchise playing in the Eastern Ontario Junior B Lacrosse Association.
As with his earlier endeavours, he was ensuring that young men had a place to play the great game of lacrosse. Jim was also heavily involved in other minor sports such as hockey and softball throughout the 1960's and into the mid-70's.
Noel Windle presents to the MacDonell family on behalf of their father Jim MacDonell