William Leo Ferguson
Born: December 29, 1923 (Victoria, British Columbia)
Died: November 28, 2014 (Victoria, British Columbia)
In 1967, Bill Ferguson and fellow sportsmen Doug Anderson and Bob Reid went door-to-door selling shares in a junior hockey team. They raised enough capital to launch the Victoria Cougars, which went from the British Columbia Junior Hockey League to the Western Canada Hockey League, grooming several future NHL stars.
Ferguson served as Cougars president in the early years, while Reid was the club’s managing director. Anderson was hired as coach and general manager. The Cougars finished in sixth place in their inaugural season of 1967-68, before winning the league title and championship the following season. The Cougars finished second in 1969-70 with a record of 31 wins, 12 losses, 8 ties. Anderson’s contract was not renewed at the end of his third season.
Ferguson interviewed Jackie McLeod as a replacement, though the former coach and general manager of Canada’s national hockey team instead became coach of the Saskatoon Blades. The Cougars hired Eric Bishop as general manager and Ron Maxwell as coach for the 1970-71 season, after which the Cougars joined the Western Canada Hockey League (now Western Hockey League).
Fred Hucul and Mitch Pechet coached the 1971-72 Cougars, whose roster included Mel Bridgman and Jack McIlhargey, who would go on to terrorize opponents while playing for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
Ferguson served in the Royal Canadian Navy as a wireless operator during the Second World War. Afterwards, he worked for 10 years with Canadian Pacific Steamships, plying the treacherous waters off the coast from Seattle to Alaska. He worked at first as a purser and later in the Victoria ticket office.
After working for several years with a travel agency, he founded Totem Travel Service. His own favoured sports were golf and curling.