Ernie Dougherty, a member of the original 1945-46 Vancouver Canucks, celebrated his 89th birthday a little early this year in what he called “the ideal setting” with family and friends at Rogers Arena.
During the second intermission of a game against the Florida Panthers on November 19, Dougherty was the first of four legendary members of the Canucks Alumni to be acknowledged with a special ‘Tribute Night’ hosted by the BC Hockey Benevolent Association.
Dougherty, who actually turned 89 on November 23, was joined by his three children and six grandchildren in the Alumni suite for the presentation of a stunning 18-carat gold Tissot watch designed by the renowned Swatch Group from Switzerland. Most importantly, the event featured the announcement of a $5,000 donation to the Union Gospel Mission from the Canucks Alumni.
Alumni Directors Rick Amann, Bob Murray and Dave Cannon made the presentation on behalf of the BC Hockey Benevolent Association. Similar presentations to Alumni members Mickey McDowell, Bob McCusker and Orland Kurtenbach will take place at upcoming Canucks games.
Dougherty, a member of the BC Hockey Benevolent Association since 1960, proudly posed for a Jack Murray photo surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
“For a guy who got paid $35 a week to be a utility player as a 19-year-old rookie with the Canucks in 1945, I’ve received more recognition than I deserve,” Dougherty quipped. “It’s been a terrific run.”
Dougherty was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 in the team category as a member of the 1945-46 Canucks, winners of the Pacific Coast Hockey League championship. He finished his playing career in England in 1956 and has been a Director with the BC Hockey Benevolent Association since 1960.
The Association was formed in 1953 when a group of former players, including Hockey Hall of Famers Fred (Cyclone) Taylor, Walter (Babe) Pratt, Neil Colville and Clint Smith, decided to raise funds to assist retired players and their families who had experienced financial or medical problems.
Now in its 60th year, the Association and Canucks Alumni has made major financial contributions to a number of community initiatives, including Canucks for Kids, Camp Goodtime and university hockey scholarships.
To see photos from Ernie’s night, please click here.
For more information on the Canucks Alumni’s many events and programs throughout the year, please visit www.canucks.com/alumni.