Doing ‘Fergie’ proud
Longtime Jets GM would see NHL's return to province as righting of a wrong
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/05/2011 (4326 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
JOHN FERGUSON JR. chuckled when asked what his late father, John Sr., would be saying about Winnipeg these days as it sits on the precipice of getting an NHL franchise back.
“The question makes me laugh because I can see him in my mind’s eye,” says the son of the most influential GM in Winnipeg Jets history whether it be WHA or NHL days. “I can see him kind of hunched over with one fist in the other hand. Under the assumption that this is going to happen, he’d be proud and excited.”
The younger Ferguson is now an executive with the San Jose Sharks as he works his way back to the top of the mountain following his dismissal from the GM post of the Toronto Maple Leafs a few years back. But while his father was running the Jets, Fergie Jr. was running the streets of Winnipeg with his pals Mike Keane and Costa Cholakis.
Ferguson still has many connections in the city and his dad was beloved by many fans, but more importantly the people he called friends.
“My dad was proud of his time in Winnipeg with both the WHA and NHL Jets,” said Ferguson from his Rhode Island home. “He’d feel a great deal of pride right now for the city, the province and most importantly for all of his and our friends. I’m speaking for him, of course, but he’d be real proud right now.”
A bruising Montreal Canadiens winger and winner of five Stanley Cups, Ferguson moved into management after his playing career ended and his son says his days in Winnipeg were his best.
“My father’s allegiance to Montreal was as a player. On the management side, his longest and most decorated run was his time as GM in Winnipeg,” said Ferguson. “The Sporting News named him executive of the year during his time with the Jets and he won a championship. He took a great deal of pride in bringing the club into the NHL.”
Ferguson said moving the Jets from the folding WHA to the NHL was a high point for his father.
“He called it the merger. In fact, my dad owned race horses and one of his best horses was named Merger,” said Ferguson.
Watching the Jets leave Winnipeg was a dark day in the Ferguson household.
Seeing the team come back, however, would put things right.
“My father would see it as the righting of a wrong. Not that he wouldn’t feel any sympathy for the people of Atlanta. But he’d be hopeful and he’d think of it as putting things right again,” said Ferguson. “He’d want a franchise in Winnipeg because he felt the city belonged in the league.”
Ferguson played college hockey at Providence and after a short professional playing career attended law school. He’s got the legal chops to go with a keen hockey mind and he’s a fair-minded, solid person.
Winnipeg was lucky to get John Ferguson Sr. to come to this city and run its hockey franchise.
Maybe having his son pick up the torch would a perfect bow on this story.