John Ferguson, Sr.
|John Ferguson, Sr.|
John Ferguson Sr, Montreal Canadiens
September 5, 1938|
Vancouver, BC, CAN
|Died||July 14, 2007
Windsor, ON, CAN
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||178 lb (81 kg; 12 st 10 lb)|
|Played for||Montreal Canadiens|
John Bowie "Fergy" Ferguson Sr. (September 5, 1938 – July 14, 2007) was a professional ice hockey player and executive. Ferguson played as a left-winger for the Montreal Canadiens from 1963 to 1971. After retiring from active play, he became a coach, and later a general manager.
Ferguson was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 5, 1938. His father died when he was 9, and he was raised by his mother near the Pacific National Exhibition grounds. Ferguson loved horses and hung around Hastings Park as a child. Aside from his interest in horses and hockey, he also played lacrosse. Ferguson's hockey career began as a stickboy for the Vancouver Canucks, then of the Western Hockey League. He became interested in the role of enforcer when he saw the more talented Canucks players get hit repeatedly, without having their team-mates attempt to respond or dissuade their opponents.
Ferguson played his junior hockey in Western Canada, with the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in 1956–57, and 1958–59. In 1959–60, he was playing professionally with the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League. In 1960, he moved to the American Hockey League and the Cleveland Barons.
In 1963–64, he was promoted to the Canadiens as an "enforcer" to protect captain Jean Beliveau from aggressive defenders—merely twelve seconds into his first NHL game, he was in a fight with Ted Green of the Boston Bruins; Ferguson won the fight. It was said that his unexpected retirement in 1971 caused problems for the Canadiens, who then started getting roughed up by other teams. Rumours persisted that General Manager Sam Pollock wanted to bring him out of retirement. 
Ferguson was also a potential offensive threat. Playing on a line with Beliveau, Ferguson led all NHL rookies in scoring in his first season and finished as runner-up for Calder Trophy in 1963–64. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound left-winger also scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1969, during a season that saw him score a career-high 29 goals with a plus-30 rating. In 85 post-season games, he scored 20 goals and added 18 assists. He also earned two selections to the NHL All-Star Game.
Ferguson was coach for the Sorel Titans, one of six semi-professional Quebec Lacrosse League clubs that played in the 1960s. In supporting the league, Ferguson told the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper: "I hope both ends of the country can bring the game out of the bushes and bring back an interest. Lacrosse needs expansion."
In 1972, he became the assistant coach of Team Canada who defeated the Soviet team in the Summit Series. Ferguson gained some notoriety because he asked Bobby Clarke to take out Soviet star Valeri Kharlamov with a slash to the latter's ankle. Ferguson later justified his orders saying "that guy is killing us.".
In the years to follow, he became the head coach and later general manager of the New York Rangers. He stopped coaching in 1977, and was fired as general manager in 1978, at which time he became the General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association and, starting in 1979, the National Hockey League. Ironically he had lured Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson away from the Winnipeg Jets in 1978 to the New York Rangers. Both were considered to be the Jets' best players, and among the best in the WHA as a whole.
Later years and death
In September 2005, Ferguson was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died on July 14, 2007. Ferguson was survived by his wife Joan and children John Jr. (former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs), Catherine, Chris and Joanne.
|Team||Year||Regular season||Post season|
|NYR||1975–76||41||14||22||5||(67)||4th in Patrick||Missed Playoffs|
|NYR||1976–77||80||29||37||14||72||4th in Patrick||Missed Playoffs|
|WPG||1985–86||14||7||6||1||(59)||3rd in Smythe||Lost in First round|
- John McGourty (2007-07-16). "Ferguson earned five Stanley Cups". Retrieved 2007-07-17.[dead link]
- TSN : NHL – Canada's Sports Leader
- John Ferguson, Sr.'s career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- John Ferguson, Sr.'s biography at Legends of Hockey
- "Tough exterior, soft heart" (Winnipeg Sun column on the passing of John Ferguson, Sr.)
|Head coach of the New York Rangers
|General Manager of the New York Rangers
|General Manager of the original Winnipeg Jets
|Head coach of the original Winnipeg Jets