Nanaimo loses an all-star lacrosse player, alderman

Arnold (Arnie) Dugan, captain of the Mann Cup-winning 1956 Nanaimo Timbermen, died in Port Alberni last month. He was 87.

He was a lacrosse champion who went on to try to be a champion for the people of Nanaimo.

Arnold (Arnie) Dugan died last month in Port Alberni after a battle with dementia and heart failure. He was 87.

Dugan was well-known as a lacrosse all-star in the 1950s and was later elected to Nanaimo city council, where he served as alderman for the city centre, south end and Harewood between 1970-74.

Born in Windsor, Ont., he grew up playing several different sports and was a boxing sparring partner for his older brother and their father. Dugan played in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League, and in the summers excelled at box lacrosse. Dugan made it to five Mann Cup series, winning three times – with the Peterborough Timbermen in 1951, the Nanaimo Timbermen in 1956 and the Victoria Shamrocks in 1957. Along the way he was a playoff MVP and was twice a first-team all-star. According to Wamp’s Bible of Lacrosse, in a professional career from 1949-63, Dugan scored 306 goals and 471 assists and another 73 goals and 85 assists in the playoffs. He is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Outside the arenas, Dugan was an avid outdoorsman. His daughter, Catharine Dugan, recalls her dad taking the kids for drives along Nanaimo’s dirt roads on excursions to Mt. Benson or Hammond Bay.

He appreciated the outdoors during his career as a lineman with B.C. Hydro, and it remained a priority in his work as a politician as he fought against commercial development on the waterfront and supported the creation of Maffeo Sutton Park. A tree-planting project along Nicol Street was another example.

Arnie Dugan was a strong advocate for pensioners and was a “hero of the underdog,” said his daughter.

“I think he was diplomatic and I think he was a gentleman, but … he was a strong individual, both physically and emotionally, and politically,” she said. “He wouldn’t get pushed off his platform very easily.”

A celebration of his life will be held Saturday (Oct. 3) at 1 p.m. at the Ucluelet Community Hall.

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