Former Rangers Coach and GM John Ferguson Passes Away
/ New York Rangers
John Bowie Ferguson, the legendary coach and general manager of the New York Rangers from 1975-77, passed away on July 14 following a two-year battle with cancer. Although his teams struggled to reach the post-season, he ended up being beloved by many for drafting fan favorites Ron Duguay and Don Murdoch.
Known throughout hockey circles simply as Fergie, the two-time all-star appeared in 500 regular season games for the Montreal Canadiens between1963-71, recording 145 goals, 158 assists and five Stanley Cup championships.
Ferguson broke into the executive ranks in the NHL with the Rangers. Although he did not find much success on Broadway, he won the Avco Cup Championship as the GM of the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA during the 1978-79 campaign. He remained the GM of Winnipeg when they entered the NHL, staying on until 1988. During that span both The Hockey News and The Sporting News named Fergie executive of the year in 1982 and 1985.
Ferguson took a brief break from hockey to pursue harness racing, but returned to the NHL as the director of player personnel for the expansion Ottawa Senators in 1992.
Most recently, he served as a special consultant to the GM for the San Jose Sharks until his untimely passing.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman issued the following statement on behalf of the league:
"There was no more passionate competitor, as a player, as a coach or as an executive, than John Ferguson. He was tough, he wanted the best for his teams, his teammates and his players, and his country, and would stop at nothing to try to help them win. His fight against cancer was every bit as fierce as his competitive drive on and off the ice. The League has lost a great hockey man. We extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Ferguson family."