Born: September 17, 1950 (Victoria, British Columbia)
Died: December 21, 2014
NLL Hall of Fame (2014)
Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (2014)
Chris Hall was born to lacrosse. His father was one of the founders of the Victoria Shamrocks and young Chris hung out in the penalty box when his father served as scorekeeper. Once, hard-headed rivals Tommy McVie and John Ferguson (yes, that John Ferguson) fought on the floor, only to resume fisticuffs while serving their punishment.
“It looked like they were going to go at it in the penalty box,” Hall told Neil Stevens of the Canadian Press in 2012. “Victoria’s chief of police sat behind the penalty box. He reached over and lifted me out of the penalty box and put me on his lap so I was out of the way.”
As a peewee player, Hall’s teammates included Cliff Thorburn, a future world snooker champion, and David Foster, the future song writer and record producer.
Hall was a multisport star as a young man. In basketball, he was a national junior all-star with the Victoria Chinooks. He played varsity for the University of Victoria Vikes and later played for senior men’s teams. On the gridiron, he was an all-star receiver and kicker in the junior B.C. Football Conference. On the rugby pitch, he bowled over opponents while wearing the livery of the James Bay Athletic Association. On the baseball diamond, he was an all-star infielder in local amateur senior leagues before joining the Swift Current (Sask.) Indians of the Southern Baseball League.
In 1975, Hall turned professional with the Boston Bolts of the original National Lacrosse League. He returned home to play for the semiprofessional Shamrocks, the team his father co-founded. He scored 498 points over nine seasons, during which he built a reputation as a tough defender. He won a Mann Cup national championship in 1979.
Outdoors, he co-founded the Victoria Seasprays field lacrosse club, which dominated all senior competition, compiling a 76-game winning streak over four seasons. In 16 years, the Seasprays claimed 12 national titles.
Hall was coach and assistant general manager of Canada’s national men’s field lacrosse team from 1988 to 1994. Canada won silver (1990) and bronze (1994) in quadrennial championships during his tenure.
In 2006, Hall was hired as head coach of England’s men’s national indoor team.
Hall spent 12 years as a head coach in the current National Lacrosse League, joining the Calgary Roughnecks in 2002. He won a Champion’s Cup with the team two years later. He became coach of the Vancouver Stealth in 2009, guiding a struggling, 3-7 team to the championship the following season.
In the NLL, Hall’s 85 regular-season victories ranks him third on the all-time list. He was 11-6 in playoff games. He was named co-winner of the coach of the year award in 2010 and served five times as an All-Star Game coach.
Hall was a senior advisor to the president of the Stealth at the time of his death. He was diagnosed with throat cancer four years ago.
It was through Hall’s tireless efforts that lacrosse was included as an official demonstration sport at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, held in Victoria.