Ferguson Jr. still in the game
John Ferguson Jr. has spent a lifetime around hockey rinks. From the old Montreal Forum, where his father John Sr.
John Ferguson Jr. has spent a lifetime around hockey rinks.
From the old Montreal Forum, where his father John Sr. kept Habs opponents honest, to the Air Canada Centre, where he spent five controversial years as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, there aren’t many arenas he hasn’t seen.
On Thursday he added another one to his list – Fort William Gardens.
Now the director of scouting for the San Jose Sharks, the 42-year-old Ferguson is spending two days checking out potential prospects for his new employer at the Cavendish University Cup.
Like most great scouts, he’s being tight-lipped about who he’s interested in.
“There are a couple guys we’re looking at, but obviously I wouldn’t want to share that competitive information with our competitors. But I do see some of the (scouts) around here. So I’m not alone,” said Ferguson, watching Manitoba and McGill in the opening game of the CIS men’s hockey championship.
The Montreal native said scouts have long been aware of the talent stowed away on Canadian University campuses, even though not many graduate to the top level of the game. Ferguson pointed to the likes of hall of famer Glenn Anderson, Paul MacLean and Mike Ridley as shining examples of players who have made it, more than enough reason to keep going back to the well.
“It’s always been good,” Ferguson said.
“There’s enough guys over the years that it’s worth following up with these guys. A lot of them come out of the Canadian Hockey League or Tier 2 and move on and get their education. Obviously you’re looking at a more mature athlete at this age.”
Ferguson, who brought such aging luminaries as Eric Lindros, Jason Allison and Ed Belfour to Toronto during his days at the Maple Leafs helm, said the Sharks are more than willing to give a CIS player a shot.
“We signed Kevin Henderson last year out of UNB. And I know there were others. The most important thing for any player is to continue to improve every year. We’ll tell that to every athlete we’re around. And it’s the same, whether you’re in the American Hockey League or the National Hockey League.
“There are enough players over the years who have come out of the CIS to warrant good coverage,” said Ferguson, who went on to say that while comfortable in a scouting role, one day he’d like to return to the general manager’s chair of an NHL team.