By Thomas J. Prohaska (Buffalo News)
Edward Crogan wasn’t the typical local lacrosse star of the 1950s and 1960s.
Although he played on primarily Native American teams, Crogan and his brother Sam were Buffalo natives who were introduced to the game after their father married a Tuscarora Indian Reservation woman.
Both Crogan brothers eventually were inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Edward Crogan, 85, died May 4 in Newfane Rehabilitation and Health Care Center of “respiratory illness complicated by Covid-19 and underlying medical conditions,” according to his death notice from Rhoney Funeral Home.
As of Wednesday, the state Health Department said 22 people had died of Covid-19 in that facility.
Crogan entered the nursing home after breaking his hip in a fall in December, according to his niece, Bonnie Crogan-Mazur.
He shared a room in Newfane Rehabilitation with his wife, Lorna, who also tested positive for Covid-19, Crogan-Mazur said. She moved there from another nursing home after she voiced dissatisfaction with the care she was receiving.
Ed Crogan fell in love with lacrosse after his father, Stephen Crogan, moved the family to the Lewiston reservation after his remarriage, which occurred when Ed and Sam were teenagers.
“Their father was a goalie on the reservation. That’s where they started playing,” said Crogan-Mazur, Ed’s niece and Sam’s daughter.
Ed was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, a year after Sam, who was honored posthumously. He died in 1994.
“They were like the Kilgours of their day. They were really awesome,” Crogan-Mazur said, referring to Rich and Darris Kilgour, former stars of the Buffalo Bandits.
Like the Bandits, the Crogans played box lacrosse, the indoor variety of the sport played on an iceless hockey rink.
“They played it from usually May until September, because then everybody wants to start putting the ice back in,” Crogan-Mazur said.
According to the Hall of Fame, the Crogan brothers were key members of two Ontario Lacrosse Association senior “B” champions, the 1955 Tuscarora Indians and the 1960 Niagara Falls Scobies.
“Known as both a high scorer and a defensive player, recognized for his power play ability,” Ed Crogan’s Hall of Fame citation said.
According to “Power’s Bible of Lacrosse,” the 1955 Tuscarora team defeated Owen Sound, three games to two, in the provincial final.
Ed scored 20 goals in 24 games for the 1960 Scobies, who won 20 of 24 regular season games.
In 1968, when he was 34, Ed was captain and leading scorer for the Fort Erie Hawks, another senior “B” team, the Hall of Fame citation said. He later coached and managed that team, and also served on the Fort Erie Minor Lacrosse executive committee.
Ed Crogan served in the U.S. Army as a communications specialist from 1952 to 1954, including duty in the Korean War.
After his discharge, he and his brother became roofers, belonging to Local 74 of the Roofers Union in Buffalo. He also enjoyed fishing and traveling with his wife, occasionally visiting local casinos.