MISSISSAUGA SPORTS HALL OF FAME
The greatest upset in hockey history was the U.S. men’s hockey team beating the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics. It’s been dubbed the ‘Miracle On Ice.’
The career highlight Mississauga Sports Hall of Famer, Pat Differ, includes playing on Canada’s ‘Miracle on Grass’ team.
In 1978, at the World Field Lacrosse Championship in Stockport, England, Canada scored a 17-16 double overtime win over the “unbeatable” American team. How farfetched was Canada’s victory? In the preliminary round, the Yanks blasted the Canucks 28-4, and British sportswriters called Canada the weakest link in the tournament. After all, it was made up of indoor lacrosse players who showed little proficiency in the outdoor game – until it really counted!
Upsetting apple carts has been a touchstone of Pat Differ’s lacrosse career. The Mississauga native ran up a book full of hall-of-fame statistics, but it was the intangibles – like his leadership – that put him a cut above the rest. Differ starred with the Mississauga PCOs of the Ontario Lacrosse Association, and the highly touted 16-year-old scored 14 goals in his rookie season (1968). He then scored 52, 49 and 48 over the next three seasons, topping out at 121 points, the second highest total in the OLA. Over the next decade, he played (and coached) with Vancouver Burrards in the Western Lacrosse Association (1973-76-78-79-81), and spent two years in the newly formed pro circuit, the National Lacrosse League. In Syracuse, he scored 64 goals and added 103 assists, and in Quebec, he fired 58 goals and 91 assists. He was fifth in NLL league scoring in 1974 and a second team all-star. In ’75, he led Quebec City to the Nations Cup title.
In 1977, he was second in OLA Senior A Series scoring, and still shares a Mann Cup (Canadian senior men’s championship) record of eight assists in one game.
Despite all his accomplishments as a multi-sports star, he’ll always be remembered in lacrosse lore as a world champ, Mississauga’s member of the ‘Miracle on Grass’ team.