Story and images by Erich Eichhorn ( ISN )
June 27, 2016 Colwood, BC ( ISN ) – It was a special era in Shamrock Lacrosse history. The newly-formed Victoria Shamrocks assigned their first-ever jersey number, number eight, to a 23 year-old kid imported via the New Westminster Adanacs and Brampton, Ontario. Little did we know at the time that today at 87 years-old Fred Robert Severson would go on to have a storied, twelve year career, all with the Victoria Shamrocks. Friday night the Shamrocks honoured the man known as “Whitey” Severson, retiring his jersey number in front of family, friends, and a pack house of fans at the Q-Centre in Colwood.
Whitey Severson walks the carpet under a Shamrocks honor guard Friday night – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
“Whitey” as he was affectionately known for his ash blonde hair, came to the Shamrocks, a then new franchise, with Archie Browning in what would be a memorable lacrosse career. Severson would accumulate 869 points in the Shamrock colors until his retirement in 1963.
As a scoring champion he led the ICLL scoring three times. In 1949 he was co-leader with Jim Anderson and Harry Buchanan, in 1952 he was co-leader with Archie Browning, and in 1953 he was the solo scoring champion. When Whitey retired, he had established a personal record of 1110 points in Western Lacrosse. As a playmaker he led the ICLL in the assist column in 1952, 1953 and 1950.
Looking to the rafters number #8 hangs in the Q-Centre. Apreciative fans looked on as Severson was honored. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
In an earlier interview with local news media, Whitey would comment about his selection, “I’m completely flabbergasted and so honoured to be the first one. I didn’t know it was happening until Walt brought it up. I’m getting congratulations from everywhere and I’m so thrilled, truly thrilled, and to have my wife and daughter here will be special,” Severson said of wife Betty-May and daughter Cherlynn.
Severson, with his wife and daughter in attendance, addresses the crowd at the packed Q-Centre Friday night – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The two were also there when he was recognized as the first player to reach 1,000 points in the Western senior lacrosse league, stopping the game for acknowledgments back in 1958.
“I’ve been blessed playing with great teammates and great people,” added Severson, who finished with 1,202 points over his career, but that was back in the early days of lacrosse when second assists were not recognized. “It was quite a sporting crowd in Victoria and I’m thrilled about this commemoration. It’s awesome.”
Congratualtions Whitey !