Jim Gregory is one of six to be inducted into the Order of St. Michael this year Photo courtesy of St. Michael’s College School

St. Mike’s made NHL vice president Jim Gregory the man that he became

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  • January 28, 2012

TORONTO - Everything Jim Gregory has in life is a result of his association with Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School, he said.

Serving the NHL today as senior vice president of hockey operations, Gregory is one of six alumni being inducted into the Order of St. Michael this year, the highest honour St. Michael’s College School can bestow on a member of its community.

“I look up to the people who they have in the Order of St. Michael and never dreamt I’d be considered for it,” said Gregory, 76. “So when I was called, it was an unbelievable surprise.”

The Order of St. Michael is awarded to individuals who embody the Basilian Fathers’ motto “Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge” through their contribution to the spiritual, academic or material welfare of the school and the greater community.

Growing up in Dunnville, Ont., a small town on Lake Erie, Gregory had aspirations to be a hockey player. But when he didn’t make the school’s Junior ‘B’ team, the Buzzers, Fr. David Bauer took him under his wing. Alongside the legendary Bauer, Gregory served as assistant manager and assistant coach in junior hockey with the school over the years, most notably when the St. Michael’s Majors won the Memorial Cup in 1961. Soon enough, Bauer landed Gregory an interview with Stafford Smythe, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time. He got the job with the Leafs, and has been in professional hockey ever since.

“I went to work for the Maple Leafs and my whole life changed,” said Gregory.

He was a scout before being promoted to general manager for the Leafs, a role he held with the team for 10 years.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, he also served as the NHL’s director of central scouting and NHL vice president and executive director of hockey operations.

Going to St. Mike’s “has changed my life and opened doors for me that I would have never had available to me,” said Gregory.

The associations he made at St. Mike’s were the highlight of his time, he said.

“And the very special person I met was Fr. Dave Bauer. He became a mentor for me, he was involved in my life totally, he helped me with my career, with my personal life, he baptized my children.

“I learned that if you work hard and give people the same kind of opportunity that you wish people gave you, you usually get rewarded.”

Gregory stays involved with the school in whatever way he can. He attends reunions and takes part in a St. Michael’s Old Boys’ meeting every year. He has a grandson enrolled at the school, which “usually gets me there a couple times a year.”

The Order of St. Michael induction ceremony will take place on April 26 at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex. Other inductees include Gene Cuccia, Fr. Brian Higgins, Fr. Neil Hibberd, Carlo De Pellegrin and Frank Lamie.

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