Ashbee Lacrosse was founded in 1974 by Norm Treinish
in Merion, PA. At the time, The Philadephia Wings played in the first version of the NLL and were generating interest in the sport beyond its traditional prep-school roots. Treinish, a former college and club player, organized an informal but regular game for the kids of Merion at General Wayne Playground. Two neighborhood pick-up teams grew into a four team league. Treinish was on the governing board of that first Wings team and arranged for sticks and equipment to be donated. The Philadelphia Youth Lacrosse League was born.
Support in the early days also came from Barry Ashbee, who was Treinish’s good friend and a former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman. Ashbee had played lacrosse in Canada as a kid and was eager to help establish the sport in the Philly area. When Ashbee died in 1977, the league was re-named in his honor as the Barry Ashbee Lacrosse League. The first league logo incorporated Ashbee’s retired Flyers jersey number 4. By this time, the league had moved to Bala Cynwyd Junior High and was a fully formed youth organization. Treinish coached a team and oversaw league operations as the organization expanded to form its first middle-school travel team. Ashbee Lacrosse continued to grow in size and stature as lacrosse flourished in Philadelphia throughout the 80s and 90s.
The heart of Ashbee Lacrosse has always been the youth league. For 3rd-6th graders, Treinish’s goal was to give every boy a chance to play. He aimed to foster a sense of teamwork, encourage competition, and teach fundamentals. To that end, the house league for many years had specific rules – such as no more than one player from each team on a ground ball and players must pass the ball over the midfield line – to make the game fun, fair, and enriching for all kids.
For 25 years, until succumbing to lung cancer in July 2000, Treinish worked with countless volunteers, coaches, players, and parents to grow Ashbee Lacrosse into a model of youth athletics. No one who came into contact with Norm could avoid being infected with the emotion, dedication, and joy he brought to Ashbee Lacrosse. As a result, the league continues to produce countless high school, college, and professional lacrosse players, many of whom actively give back to the sport and their local communities.
Barry Ashbee, former Philadelphia Flyer wore number #4 and that number to this day is a retired number in the Ashbee Lacrosse Club. As a way to honor Barry Ashbee, the official Ashbee team colors have been and continue to be Orange and Black.
Norm Treinish goes into the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame as "a truly great coach who has contributed noteworthy service to the game of lacrosse over the years in Pennsylvania." Norm, or "Uncle Norm" as he is affectionately called by many of his current and former players, began his association with lacrosse as a player with the Cleveland Lacrosse Club in 1957 and 1958, but he really began to leave his mark on the game when he founded Ashbee Youth Lacrosse in 1974. Since then, he has served as coach and chief administrator of the Ashbee program, teaching boys the game he loves.
Norm was a co-founder of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Youth Lacrosse League (SEPYLA), the first organized league for boys programs in Eastern Pennsylvania. Norm served as SEPYLA Vice President in 1993 and as SEPYL President from 1994 to 1996. Since SEPYLA's inception, Norm's 7th & 8th grade Al Ashbee teams have won the SEPYLA Championship ten times. Over the years the Ashbee program, which now begins with 3rd graders, has developed many players along the Main Line, who have gone on to become All State and All American high school players, as well as collegiate All Americans, many of whom are known by nicknames given to them by Norm. At least three have gone on the play for the United States Men's National Team. In the past ten years, the Ashbee program has provided the opportunity for an average of 230 boys per year to play the game. More than that, he helped spark interest in the game and planted seeds throughout the area to foster the development of boys' youth lacrosse. In 1982, the Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association selected Norm as its "Lacrosse Man of the Year."
His coaching career has also extended into the summer league, where for many years he coached the Lower Merion High School entry in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Summer Lacrosse League (SPSLL). In the late 1980s and early '90s, he coached teams in the Men's Division of the summer league, mostly consisting of former players that simply could not get enough of his wit, charm, enthusiasm and abiding love for the game - young man who played their high school lacrosse at Lower Merion, Harriton, Episcopal and Haverford. Many of these high school program owed their success over the years in part to players who learned to play lacrosse in the Ashbee program. His 1986 "Sporting Goods Place" team won the SPSLL Men's Division Championship; he also coached "Team Ritz," again consisting mainly of Ashbee alums and their chums.
Norm was one of he founders of the "Ralph Club," a group of fathers known for their conspicuous, unabashed but ultimately fun-loving displays of pride over the various and sundry accomplishments of their respective sons, typically as fixtures on the sidelines or in the stands at men's club games. Norm, a commercial artist who is also credited for designing the logo of the Philadelphia Wings that is still in use today, created the artwork that was given annually to the winner of the Ralph Award, named after Norm's friend Ralph Davy. The Ralph Club eventually evolved into the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association (PLA) in the mid-1980s. In 1988, Norm served as Vice President of the PLA. Norm was also a member of the Board of Directors of the original Philadelphia Wings indoor lacrosse team in 1974 and 1975.