As a youth, John Ferguson was hired to scrape the ice at the Vancouver Forum. One of the perks was free ice time during public skating and within a few weeks he was playing in a bantam hockey league. Eleven years later, John became the first BC-born player to make it big in the NHL.

Ferguson began his NHL career in 1963, the first of eight seasons as a hard-nosed left winger for the Montreal Canadiens. Before retiring as a player in 1971, he scored 145 goals and made 158 assists for a total of 303 points in 500 regular season games.

Upon his retirement Ferguson set Canadiens’ club records for the highest number of penalty minutes in a single season and the highest number of career penalty minutes.

He won five Stanley Cups with the Canadiens in his role as a “policeman” protecting the stars, but also one who was skilled enough to play a regular shift and contribute offensively. In 85 play-off games he scored 20 goals and recorded 18 assists.

In 1972, he served as assistant coach of Team Canada under coach Harry Sinden, helping lead the team to a 4-3-1 victory over the Soviets. The series was of course capped by Paul Henderson’s winning goal with 34 seconds remaining in the eighth and final game. Ferguson called the series one of the highlights of his career.

In the 1975-76 season, Ferguson became the general manager and coach for the New York Rangers. He signed a five-year contract as vice-president and general manager of the Winnipeg Jets in 1978 and served in that capacity for a decade.

Ferguson was appointed general manager of Team Canada in 1980.