Gerry Heffernan

Gerry Heffernan was an undersized but speedy hockey player who helped the Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in 1944.

But it was never really his goal to play in the National Hockey League or win the Stanley Cup. He dreamed of playing with the Montreal Royals and winning the Allan Cup, Canada's amateur championship trophy.

Born in 1916 in Montreal, Gerry played with the Montreal Royals from 1935-37 before moving to Great Britain, of all places, to play.

While he considered his London foray to be a career setback in hindsight, he held no regrets. He met his future wife, Kathleen "Kit" Duggan, in England. She followed him back to Canada at the end of the season, and would be married in 1940.

From 1938 through 1941 Heffernan returned to the Royals, helping the team reach three consecutive Allan Cup finals, though they never could win the title. In 34 Allan Cup playoff games, he scored 14 goals and 22 assists.

In 1941-42 Heffernan got his chance with the pros, though he did need a little convincing to make the jump. The Canadiens opened the season winning just one of seven games. Desperate for help, the Habs signed the Royals entire top line - Buddy O'Connor, a future Hall of Famer, Pete Morin and Heffernan. The trio of smurfs was already well known in Montreal, known as the "Razzle Dazzle Line," relying on speed and puck movement to survive the rough and tumble wars of hockey.

Gerry was with the Royals for most the 1942-43 season, but he was reunited with O'Connor and played full time with the Canadiens in 1943-44, finishing with an impressive 28 goals and 48 points in 43 games. Of the Montreal players only Rocket Richard had more goals, 32, in the regular season than Heffernan.

Heffernan's strong play continued in the playoffs, picking up three points in seven playoff games, as the Canadiens, swept the Chicaco Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. That championship ended a 14 year drought for the Canadiens.

Gerry returned to the Royals for two more seasons before retiring to become an insurance broker in Montreal. He and his wife moved to California in the 1970s. They played a lot of golf (Gerry was fanatical about the game) and made annual trips back to Britain.

Whether in California or in the UK, he stayed on the ice into his 80s. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 90.


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