Fergie Sr. fighting cancer

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

John Ferguson Jr. knows that prostate cancer will be the hardest battle his famous father has ever fought.

The senior Ferguson, who just turned 67, will undergo surgery today in London, Ont.

"We had dinner (Monday) and I just got off the phone with him now," the Maple Leafs general manager said last night. "My father's spirits are good, as is his determination going forward."

The cancer was discovered during the elder Ferguson's annual check-up.

"I was in shock," Ferguson Sr. told Sun Media earlier yesterday. "You hear that word (cancer) and it hits you, boom, right between the eyes.

"They've told me that they've got it early (a bone scan showed it has not spread), but it is progressive and they want to get in there right away. Hopefully, they're able to get it all."

It's hard to think of the robust Ferguson as anything but healthy. Now a special consultant with the San Jose Sharks, he was one of the most-feared players in National Hockey League history. He took on the toughest opponents for the Montreal Canadiens, winning five Stanley Cups in a 500-game career. But he could score, too, with 303 career points.

"This is part of life," Ferguson Jr. said. "But he's getting first-rate care and there is a good cure rate.

"It's interesting, because (prostate cancer) is one of the charities at his golf tournament in Essex and Lasalle (near Windsor), one that gets a significant portion. Now, he'll be one of the people to benefit from it."

A determined Ferguson Sr. plans to be back to work in late October and will be watching Sharks games via satellite and breaking down tapes the team will send him while he recovers.

"A lot of people have called," Ferguson Sr. said. "I'm staying positive. You've got to be a fighter and I'm ready for this fight."

Rejean Houle, a former Ferguson teammate with the Habs and now president of the team alumni, was stunned at the news.

"He's such a big a part of our team," Houle said. "He's a tough guy, but a gentleman, the kind people love being around. All our members are praying for him and we're with him all the way."

The Canadian Cancer Society's Prostate Cancer Awareness Week is on and as part of its awareness campaign, former Leafs captain Wendel Clark urged men over 40 to be checked regularly.


Videos

Photos