News Blog: Giving up the game is hard to do

Jack Ferguson actually believed he could do it, but those who knew him best were sure it would only be a matter of time before he was skulking around arenas looking for hockey talent again.

At the age of 74 and with almost 50 years of scouting experience behind him, Ferguson decided this season that he would hang up his clipboard. He had last been a scout with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario League and wanted to spend more time traveling and spending time with his grandchildren. His travels would take him to sporting events around North America and he’d watch his grandchildren play hockey and lacrosse to his heart’s content.

But then the calls started coming and Ferguson found he simply couldn’t spend his twilight years idly.

“I can’t stand people my age,” Ferguson said. “All they want to talk about is groceries.”

So one of the good people and a great character in the game was lured out of retirement by the London Knights.

Co-owner Mark Hunter, who makes a ton of money in the junior hockey business, figured correctly that Ferguson would be itching to get back into the game. The fact is, as a part-time scout, Ferguson isn’t making a whole lot more money than the teenagers that junior hockey owners exploit by paying them $50 a week.

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But Ferguson loves it.

The former Washington Capitals scout and former director of the OHL’s Central Scouting Bureau covers primarily the Greater Toronto Hockey League and the Ontario Jr. A League for the Knights.

He estimates that in his first month on the job, he saw about 50 games.

Ferguson figured the decision to get back into the game wouldn’t go over so well with his wife, Jackie, who runs a small school bus company in Toronto. But as it turns out, Jackie offered to drive him to the interview in London.

“We’ve been married for almost 50 years,” Ferguson said, “but the key is that we’ve only been together for 10. We’re just getting to know each other.”