Sunday

Gerry O'Flaherty

Despite being born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gerry O'Flaherty is a proud Canadian through and through.

Gerry is the son of long time minor league hockey star John "Peanuts" O'Flaherty. John played just 21 games in the NHL, but spent 10 solid years in the AHL, particularly with the Pittsburgh Hornets. Son Gerry, who was nicknamed "Flapper," played 438 games in the NHL, mostly with the Vancouver Canucks.

Gerry played junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHA and caught the eyes of Toronto Maple Leaf scouts. The Leafs selected O'Flaherty in the third round of the 1970 Amateur draft after Gerry scored 40 goals in just 54 OHA games.

Gerry spent most of the following two seasons with the Leafs farm team in Tulsa of the CHL. He did receive a fine Christmas gift in 1971 from the Leafs though.

"My biggest thrill in hockey was playing my first NHL game for the Leafs on Christmas night, 1971," recalls Gerry. However Gerry would only play one more game with the Leafs before returning to the minor leagues. Ultimately the Leafs would favor Errol Thompson and Denis Dupere as the future of their left wing.

Gerry's childhood dream of playing for the Leafs ended in the summer of 1972 as he was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL Intra-League Draft on June 5, 1972.

Gerry was far from disappointed on that day, though, as he would get a chance to play for the young west coast franchise which also employed his father as a scout. In fact, the young left winger would later realize that that day was the most important date in his NHL career. By joining the Canucks the young left winger embarked upon a solid 6 year career in the NHL. Three times Gerry eclipsed the 20 goal mark. The 5'10" 180lb winger scored 98 goals (including 2 in 9 seconds in a 1974 game against Atlanta) and 85 assists for 193 points in 435 games in a Canucks jersey.

In the summer of 1978 O'Flaherty signed with the Minnesota North Stars as a free agent, but he would never play in the state of hockey. Just prior to the 1978-79 season the North Stars traded O'Flaherty to Atlanta. He played in just one game for the Flames, and despite scoring a goal, was demoted to the minor leagues for the rest of the year. That proved to be his final year in pro hockey.

Gerry returned to Vancouver following his playing days. He got into a muffler shop business in 1979 while also doing some NHL scouting work. He remained active with the Vancouver Canucks alumni association for many years after leaving the ice.

5 comments:

Anonymous,  11:58 AM  

I have great memories of Gerry playing on the 1974-75 Canucks while winning their first divisional title. I was all of 11 years old and it was a thrill to be at the game when they clinched it. Small world that it is, I met Gerry's son years later while working at Bentall centre in Vancouver. Thanks for the memories Gerry! I will always cherish those times. DL

Unknown 11:11 AM  

Never did see him play,but I did work for him at his Midas shop.I would say he is the best BOSS anyone could ask for and a great person to know.His entire family is so welcoming,his son Patrick stopped to see me at work just last week.No reason but to say "Hi". That's the kind of people they are.

Anonymous,  6:59 PM  

I remember Gerry from my school days in the mid 60's.He was in my class at Michael Power High school. Mike Pelyk ,who went on to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs ,was also in the same class.
I didn't get to know him that well,however I always found him to be a very friendly and positive individual.
Good to hear how well he did
Garry Calis

Anonymous,  7:45 PM  

I played on the same house league team as Gerry as a seven year old. I was the worst player on the team. Needless to say, Gerry was the best player on the team. Thanks to him we won the championship. Enjoyed following his career and just came across his name as a scout with Tampa. Nice to read the fine comments about him and his family.

Millard Steeper,  8:16 AM  



Played on the Pee wee Queensway All Star team with Gerry in Etobicoke Ontario.
Many fond memories, other guys like Randy Dixon played as well . They were great players

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