Honoring Pete Lansburg’s memory has been a defining part of Amsterdam’s boys’ lacrosse program for 20 years, and for all that time, the Lansburg family has stayed connected with the team.
Lansburg died Feb. 18, 2001, the result of injuries suffered in a snowmobile accident in Speculator. He was just three months past his 17th birthday, and just weeks away from starting his senior lacrosse season at Amsterdam.
Since that time, his family and the Amsterdam program have been intertwined. The Lansburg family established a scholarship that is awarded each year to a senior boys’ lacrosse family, and this year, to commemorate 20 years since his death, the family donated new jerseys to the merged Amsterdam/Broadalbin-Perth team.
Monday night, at halftime of the team’s 14-2 loss to Johnstown at Lynch Literacy Academy, the program paid tribute to Lansburg, presenting a signed No. 18 jersey — a number that’s been retired since his death — to Pete Lansburg’s mother, Debbie Lansburg, and sister, Lory Graff.
“There’s a lot of people that remember him, but these guys more than anybody,” Debbie Lansburg said. “I think people think that if you say his name, it’s going to hurt us, but it hurts us more if they don’t say it. I’m thankful for the program.”
The memorial scholarship was set up in the immediate aftermath of Pete Lansburg’s death, but Debbie Lansburg said the family — including her husband, Vinny, who died last September — wanted to do something more to commemorate the 20th anniversary.
The new jerseys were the latest gesture of kindness from a family that’s made sure to keep its connection to the program.
“If there’s a kid that doesn’t have equipment, I’ll pay for it,” Debbie Lansburg said.
Amsterdam/Broadalbin-Perth coach James Natole was in eighth grade when Pete Lansburg died. His older brother, Bob, was one of Lansburg’s teammates.
“They’ve done so much for this program,” Natole said of the Lansburg family’s generosity over the years. “They’ve done so much for this program. They give the scholarship every year. They’re always willing to help out.
“This was nice for us to finally give something to them.”
Following Pete Lansburg’s death, the Rams played their 2001 season in tribute to their fallen teammate and produced one of the best campaigns in program history with an 11-5 record.
It’s a memory that’s still fresh for former Amsterdam coach Matt Beck, who was on hand for the ceremony.
“It was a special year we had that year,” Beck said. “For [Debbie] to stay attached to the program, it just kind of shows what the program is. It’s not always about wins and losses. She’s been a great part of the lacrosse program. I was just honored to be a part of the team back in 2001. We wish he was there with us. It was very difficult for us to deal with.”
Monday’s game was put out of reach early, as Johnstown (6-0 overall) scored five goals in first eight minutes of the first quarter, taking advantage of several easy transition opportunities to pull away.
Freshmen Matt Wheelis and Ryan Hoyt led the way for the Sir Bills, each tallying five goals and an assist in a game that featured more than 20 penalties.
“We were kind of sloppy. The game was called tight,” Johnstown coach Scott Petrie said. “For us, it’s maturity. We’re young and we’re old, so we’ve got to figure some things out.”
Andy Welch and Brady Naish scored for Amsterdam/Broadalbin-Perth (2-5 overall), while sophomore goalie Dom Blair stopped 14 shots.
“Dom played his heart out,” Natole said. “He’s a 10th grader who picked up the goalie stick the first week of the season. He transferred from attack to try and give us a better chance, and he played really well.
Johnstown 5 3 1 5 — 14
A/B-P 0 1 0 1 — 2
Johnstown scoring: Wheelis 5-1, B. Mureness 1-4, Hoyt 5-1, Benton 2-1, Betts 1-0, C. Mureness 0-1. Amsterdam/Broadalbin-Perth scoring: Welch 1-0, Naish 1-0. Goalies: Johnstown, Salamack, 9 saves. Amsterdam/Broadalbin-Perth, Blair, 14 saves.