One of the legendary players from the team’s stunning heyday through the 2000s, Stewart was killed in an automobile accident in 2013 and has been honoured by the organization ever since in the form of the Ken Stewart Memorial Scholarship.
So it made perfect sense that he would be one of the players honoured by the organization with a prominent part in display when it was officially revealed during a special ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
Among those on hand was Ken’s father Barry Stewart, who himself was integral in the evolution and growth of the sport at the turn of the century and beyond – and whose role in so many impressive MJLAX victories helped make the display necessary in the first place.
“It’s nice to see the entire sport being honoured here, there’s a lot of history in the city and organizations who lose their history lose their way,” Stewart said. “So I’m really happy to see the entire thing, especially from a family perspective, it’s awesome to see something like this and this has always been a class organization.”
The display case was a years-long effort that involved nearly two dozen people gathering memorabilia, trophies and outright building the impressive structure. It’s now nigh unmissable as it sits next to the north entranceway to the arena proper.
“There are a lot of memories in there, past, current and future stuff that’s been going on, so it’s great to be able to honour everyone in this organization,” said MMJLAX president Cody Nidesh. “This has been going on since November, just reaching out to people, grabbing stuff, figuring out if we’re going to do this and that, it’s been a long process.”
Just as one example, Nidesh mentioned the work of former Mustangs standout Derek Burns and his efforts in contacting people to gather donations for the display. His efforts were among hours of work that resulted in an impressive array ranging from photos, newspaper articles to even game-used equipment from some of the famous players from lacrosse’s past in the city.
“Everyone was more than willing to help out, and this is for the families here, to honour them because they’re a big piece of how we got started with this trophy case,” Nidesh said.
That’s no surprise to Stewart, whose original efforts to help create that kind of atmosphere have carried on well past his days of heaviest involvement in the sport.
“Our organization might not be the biggest in the city but we certainly have a family concept and team concept and it’s ‘once a Mustang, always a Mustang’,” he said. “We have some great people in place on the executive team and I see nothing but great things here now and in the future.”