Les Wingrove is part of a proud family who were pioneers of Port Coquitlam, BC. His first home was on Wilson Avenue right next door to the lacrosse box named for the famed Doug Rowland. Parents Art & Mae had their hands full with Bob and Les although it was younger sister Sally who excelled in athletics. Les served in the Royal Canadian Navy after which he pursued a career in telecommunications.
Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse
Les and JoAnne moved to Coquitlam shortly after getting married. After they started a family, Les started coaching and refereeing. His interest in lacrosse continued to grow as his sons Trevor and Craig grew older. Les served as President of the Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association in 1976 and 1977 and has been credited for growing the sport in the City of Coquitlam. He won the British Columbia Lacrosse Association’s prestigious Tom Gordon Plaque (also known as “Mr. Lacrosse”) in 1976 which is awarded to the individual considered the one person who has done the most for lacrosse in the past year. In all, Les served 15 years as a coach, referee, Divisional Manager, Tournament Director, and President. His minor lacrosse teams were perennial provincial champions. Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse has grown into one of the largest and most respected minor lacrosse associations in Canada.
It should be noted Les also served 8 years in minor hockey as a Head Coach, Team Manager, and Pacific Coast Divisional Manager with Coquitlam Minor Hockey and the Burnaby Winter Club. In addition, he served 2 year as a minor soccer coach.
Coquitlam junior adanacs
In 1979 Les Wingrove and Dave Zelmer changed the landscape of lacrosse in Canada. They founded the Coquitlam Junior Adanacs after taking over the Coquitlam J-Hawks of the then West Canada Major Junior Lacrosse League. Les held roles as President, General Manager, and Coach – he stayed with the team until 1988. As coach, Les guided the team to two Minto Cup Finals (1986 and 1988) and won a series of awards along the way. The team was founded and was run from Les’ home. His office was legendary with the history of the game in Coquitlam residing within its 4 walls.
A move to the western lacrosse association and the Nll
Les joined the Coquitlam Senior Adanacs in 1989 and held the positions of Coach and General Manager. He guided the team to several WLA championships and 4 Mann Cup finals. In 2001 he was part of Coquitlam’s first, and only, Mann Cup Championship team. Les was renowned for his recruiting. He was well known for doing significant due diligence on each player in the draft. Not only would he speak to a player and his current coach, he would often talk to former coaches, teammates, and even opponents to understand the dynamics of each player. When the Western Lacrosse Association draft had no limit on rounds, Les Wingrove would ensure every player from the Coquitlam Junior Adanacs and every player who attended the draft would be drafted. If you look at the historical drafts you will see Coquitlam would continue drafting players long after every other team stopped drafting.
In 2005, former player and then GM of the Colorado Mammoth, Steve Govett, hired Les to be part of their scouting department. His knowledge of the WLA helped Colorado secure players - the team won the 2006 NLL Champions Cup.
Later lacrosse career
Les joined the Langley Thunder of the WLA in 2012 and held various management positions. He worked with the Buchan family to create a contender in the very competitive Western Lacrosse Association. The Thunder went to the Mann Cup final in Peterborough, ON in 2012.
Les also resumed working with the Coquitlam Junior Adanacs, the team he founded in 1979. Les was very proud to be with the club when they won their second Minto Cup in 2016 (they won their first in 2010 wearing TW23 patches on their uniform in memory of Les’ late son Trevor Wingrove).
Influence on Athletes
Les was well respected by his peers and was honoured with many awards. But, his greatest legacy is the quality of the people who came to play under Les. Many of these individuals have gone one to be coaches, managers, referees, and mentors of young players. Here is a brief list of some of the lacrosse players, coaches, and executives who worked closely with Les.
Ken Buchan, Jr
Ken Buchan, Sr
Pat Coyle – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2017
Geordie Dean – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2003
Dallas Eliuk – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2013
Ted Fridge – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2009
Rich Goulet – BC Basketball Hall of Fame, 2012
Jeff Gombar – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2015
John Grant Jr
Russ Heard – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2016
Dr. Don Hedges – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2011
Tracey Kelusky – National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame, 2016
Curt Malawsky – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2015
Rick Mang – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2017
Andy Ogilve – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2015
Ken Thomas – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2010
Mike Reelie – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2003
Josh Sanderson – National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame, 2016
Dan Stroup – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2016
Bruce Turris – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2004
Jim Veltman – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame 2015
Jason Wulder – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, 2018
Community legacy & Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame
Les retired from BC Tel after a 33 year career in telecommunications and became even more active in the Coquitlam sports community. In 2005 he was one of the founding members of indoor arena users who became known as the Coquitlam Sports Center Arena User’s Association. They were discussing the renovation plans for the Coquitlam Sports Centre. Les came up with and put forward idea of creating a Sports Hall of Fame to honour local athletes and their achievements. From here a new committee was created and the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame is now one of the most visited sports halls of fames in North America.
One of the original founding members of the “Coquitlam Sports Centre User’s Association” in 2005; held the position of Public Information Officer at his passing
Member of the Sports Recreation Advisory Commission, 2006
Member of the Design Steering Committee for the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex, 2007
Founding member of the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame working group in 2007-2008; Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame Vice President/Board Member until his passing.
major awards, championships, & recognition
2018: Minto Cup Champion (Coquitlam Junior Adanacs)
2018: Exhibit on Les Wingrove on “Poco Stories” at the Port Coquitlam Heritage and Cultural Society (honoured with other sports legends from Port Coquitlam including Doug Rowland, Mike Gates, and Terry Fox)
2016: Minto Cup Champion (Coquitlam Junior Adanacs)
2011: Grand Marshall, Teddy Bear Picnic (Festival Coquitlam)
2010: Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame Inductee (inaugural class)
2010: BC Lacrosse Association’s Hugh Gifford Merit Award – team manager accomplishment in instilling sportsmanship in their players and leadership and contribution toward improving the image of lacrosse
2006: National Lacrosse League Cup / Champions Cup Champion (Colorado Mammoth)
2003: Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame Inductee
2002: BC Lacrosse Association’s Hugh Gifford Merit Award
2001: Mann Cup Champion (Coquitlam Adanacs)
1998: BC Lacrosse Association’s John Cavallin Merit Award – coach of the year judged on accomplishment of instilling playing ability, sportsmanship and competitiveness in their players
1993: BC Lacrosse Association’s Hugh Gifford Merit Award
1988: BC Junior Lacrosse Association’s Doug Hazelwood Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year)
1986: BC Lacrosse Association’s John Cavallin Merit Award
1976: BC Lacrosse Association’s Tom Gordon Plaque – the individual considered the one person who has done the most for lacrosse in the past year. This is British Columbia’s Mr. or Ms. Lacrosse.
More than 20 BC Provincial Championships; 4 major championships; and a lifetime of mentoring lacrosse leaders of the future