Lewis Edwin "Lou" Marsh (February 17, 1879 – March 4, 1936) was a
Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the At ...
athlete and referee, and one of the pioneers of
Sports journalism is a form of writing
Writing is a medium of human communication
Communication (from Latin
Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...
in Canada, working at the ''
The ''Toronto Star'' is a Canadian English-language broadsheet
A broadsheet is the largest and is characterized by long vertical pages, typically of . Other common s include the smaller and – formats.
Many broadsheets m ...
'' for 43 years.
Life and career
Marsh was born in
Campbellford is an unincorporated place and former town in Northumberland County, Ontario, Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada, in the List of municipalities in Ontario#Lower-tier municipalities, township municipality of Trent Hills. It lies ...
and lived there until the age of nine, when he moved with his family to
Toronto (, ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016 in 2016, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most p ...
, Ontario. At 14, in the first year after the launch of the ''Toronto Star'', Marsh walked into the newspaper's office responding to a want ad and was hired as a copyboy. He rose to junior reporter, reporter, columnist (''With Pick and Shovel'' was the name of his long-running column), assistant sports editor under
W. A. Hewitt
William Abraham Hewitt (May 15, 1875 – September 8, 1966) was a Canadian sports journalist and sportsman.
Born in Cobourg
Cobourg (/'koːbə˞g/) is a town in the Canadian province
The provinces and territories of Canada a ...
, and finally, in 1931, sports editor. He held that position until his death in 1936.
As an athlete, Marsh's first love was sailing, and through his life he played a wide variety of sports. At the age of 21 he became interested in rugby, and played with some of the top teams in Toronto, including the
The Toronto Argonauts (officially the Toronto Argonaut Football Club and colloquially known as the Argos) are a professional Canadian football team competing in the CFL East Division, East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in ...
Marsh was said to be a top-notch sprinter, once defeating Canadian and Olympic champion Robert Kerr
in a 120-yard hurdle race. He became a supporter of
Thomas Charles Longboat (July 4, 1887 – January 9, 1949, Iroquois name: Cogwagee) was an Onondaga distance runner from the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario and, for much of his career, the dominant long-distance runner. He was ...
and accompanied him to the
1908 Summer Olympics
The 1908 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the IV Olympiad, and commonly known as London 1908, was an international
International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations".
International may also refer to:
Music A ...
London is the capital
Capital most commonly refers to:
* Capital letter
Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...
In May 1914, Marsh was aboard the first passenger airplane flight out of Toronto, taking off from Toronto and flying to
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Ontario. Hamilton has a Canada 2016 Census, population of 536,917, and its Census Metropolitan Area, census metropolitan area, which includes Burlington, ...
and back. Around this time, he is said to have swum across the
The Niagara River ( ; french: rivière Niagara) is a river that flows north from Lake Erie
Lake Erie (; french: Lac Érié) is the fourth largest lake
A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, ...
Lewiston, New York
Lewiston is a town
A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world.
Origin and use
Queenston is a compact rural community and unincorporated place north of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Niagara Falls in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is bordered by Ontario Highway 405, Highway 405 to the south and the Niagara R ...
Marsh was one of the top boxing and hockey referees of his era. He also worked as a referee in
Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', held by touring companies called Professional wrestling promotion, promotions, in ...
. During a match in Toronto in 1921, Marsh surprised the wrestlers after 30 minutes of showmanship by telling them that it was time to stop their exhibition and wrestle a real contest. He brought a similar attitude to his work as a boxing referee where, over the course of thousands of bouts, Marsh wasn't reluctant to demand action from the fighters. He was a referee in the
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League (NHL; french: Ligue nationale de hockey—LNH) is a professional ice hockey sports league, league in North America comprising 32 teams—25 in the United States and 7 in Canada. It is considered to be the premier pr ...
, and saw action in
The Stanley Cup (french: La Coupe Stanley) is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League
The National Hockey League (NHL; french: Ligue nationale de hockey—LNH) is a professional ice hockey sports league, le ...
World War I
World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war
A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...
, Marsh was an officer in the
Canadian Expeditionary Force
The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the designation of the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the First World War. The force fielded several combat formations on the Western Front (World War I), Western Front in France a ...
, enlisting with the
180th (Sportsmen) Battalion, CEF The 180th (Sportsmen) Battalion, CEF was a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Based in Toronto, Ontario, the unit began recruiting during the winter of 1915/16 in that city. After sailing to England in November 19 ...
in 1916. He briefly served in France before being sent back to Canada after being diagnosed with heart problems. He rose to the rank of major while serving in the military.
While in his 40s he was advised by doctors to stop working as a referee. Marsh's final appearance in the NHL was in the 1929 playoffs. In the late 1920s, he developed an interest in racing small outboard
Hydroplaning and hydroplane may refer to:
* Aquaplaning or hydroplaning, a loss of steering or braking due to water on the road
* Hydroplane (boat), a fast motor boat used in racing
** Hydroplane racing, a sport involving racing hydroplanes on lake ...
s, which he called sea fleas. One of the most successful sea flea racers in Toronto was future
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs (officially the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club and often referred to as the Leafs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Toronto. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Atlantic Divi ...
Harold Edwin Ballard (born Edwin Harold Ballard, July 30, 1903 – April 11, 1990) was a Canadians, Canadian businessman and sportsman. Ballard was an owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL) as well as their home ar ...
When professional wrestling started coming to Toronto on a weekly basis in 1929, Marsh told readers right from the start that the matches were exhibitions and not real contests. In 1935, he coined the term '' sportive entertainment
'' to describe professional wrestling—a term that in a slightly modified form would come to prominence fifty years later. One of his closest friends was Toronto wrestling and boxing promoter
John H. "Jack" Corcoran (May 15, 1858 – December 28, 1935), was an American catcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Brooklyn Atlantics during the season. This was his only season in the Majors. He did play pro ...
In 1931, he succeeded Hewitt as the ''Stars sports editor after Hewitt accepted a job as the first attractions manager of the new
Maple Leaf Gardens
Maple Leaf Gardens is a historic building located at the northwest corner of Carlton StreetCarlton may refer to:
People and fictional characters
* Carlton (name), a list of those with the given name or surname
* Carlt ...
. Marsh became an avid fisherman and hunter in his 50s, and made a return to officiating as a hockey referee at the
1932 Winter Olympics
The 1932 Winter Olympics, officially known as the III Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event
A multi-sport event is an organized sporting
Sporting may refer to:
*Sport, recreational games and play
*Sporting (neighborhood), in A ...
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid is a village
A village is a clustered human settlement
Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, ...
Marsh died unexpectedly at the age of 57 in 1936. The following day, the ''Toronto Star'' devoted 11 pages to coverage of his life and accomplishments, starting with a banner headline on page one. Before the end of the year, the
Lou Marsh Trophy
The Lou Marsh Trophy, also known as the Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy and Lou Marsh Award, is a trophy that is awarded annually to Canada's top athlete
An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a person who competes in one or more sports that ...
was created and named in his honour. It has been presented to Canada's top athlete each year since then.
He is buried at
Park Lawn Cemetery
Park Lawn Cemetery is a large cemetery in the Etobicoke district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It currently has around 22,000 graves. It is managed by the Park Lawn Limited Partnership, which also runs five other cemeteries in Toronto. The cemetery ...
Marsh's World War I officer's declaration paper
Canadian Expeditionary Force officers
Canadian ice hockey officials
National Hockey League officials
People from Northumberland County, Ontario
Sportspeople from Ontario
Sportspeople from Toronto
Toronto Argonauts players
Toronto Star people