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In Conversation . . . with John Ferguson

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs TV host Brian Duff hosts an introspective one-on-one interview program with some of hockey's greatest personalities. Past guests have included legendary coach Scotty Bowman, TV personality Don Cherry and super-agent Don Meehan.  The following is a partial transcript of In Conversation With ...John Ferguson.  The complete show will air Monday night at 7 p.m. on Leafs TV.

Brian Duff: How has your life changed after signing a contract here in Toronto?

John Ferguson: Well it's been real exciting, it really has. You know it's a great challenge and an even better opportunity. There are so many things that I am really trying to get up to speed with in the organization, get an idea of what we have, who's in place and what their capabilities are. But it's been a tremendous week thus far, if you will, and I look forward to a great year.

Duff: How did you go out and celebrate after you finally had a chance to get away from the media after the press conference and subsequent media sessions?

Ferguson: We had a real nice time. My wife was up here and we have some friends that live in the area that I played college (hockey) with down at Providence College that come from this area. We joined together at a nice restaurant here in Toronto and had a real nice dinner and a little bit of a celebration.

Ferguson dropped in on the Leafs TV studios to tape the latest episode of In Conversation.
Graig Abel Photography
Duff: Given the magnitude of the market within the NHL, were you surprised to get the job?

Ferguson: You know, in many ways no I wasn't, but I did grant those that I interviewed with, Richard (Peddie), Ken Dryden, Pat (Quinn) and I understood that it would require some courage on their behalf to make the decision. As I said, their faith in me is well placed and I look forward to it.

Duff: Tell us about the whole process involved in the quest to become GM in Toronto.

Ferguson: Well I was originally made aware of contact late June, just prior to the draft, from our General Manager Larry Pleau. I didn't hear again for probably for a month or so from Toronto and I hadn't actually heard directly they had talked to Larry himself. At that point, I would imagine they were just trying to put their list together and just making sure that those on the list would be available to speak with, almost a heads up to expect to hear more formally at a later date. That occurred, late July and they obviously granted permission. I then spoke with Richard Peddie and you know how it went from there.

Duff: So how long was the month of July for you, were you thinking about this all the time?

Ferguson: Quite a bit sure, but at the same time I wasn't a hundred percent convinced that they would address the chain of command change this season. There were some different media reports as to whether or not it would occur. But it was encouraging when I did get that call, the process was handled professionally, thoroughly and I respected the process throughout and in many ways was confident that I put my best foot forward.

Duff: How many times had you been through this process before, applying for GM positions around the league?

Ferguson: I didn't actually apply for any but, I have. There was one other very formal process with a couple of different sit down interviews that extended over a period of about 6 weeks earlier in the spring. There was one other much earlier than that that wasn't the right fit and therefore just didn't seem like the right opportunity at the right time for me or for my family and wasn't pursued.

Duff: Why do you feel that you were ultimately offered the job here in Toronto?

Ferguson: It's a combination of my experience academically, athletically, professionally and other more personal attributes: work ethic, competitiveness, drive. I think all of those things put together.

Catch the full In Conversation with Leafs GM John Ferguson, Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET, only on Leafs TV.
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