TORONTO – Jim Gregory says everything he has in life is due to his association with Toronto's St. Michael's College School.
Serving the NHL today as senior vice president of hockey operations, Gregory will be inducted into the Order of St. Michael this year, the highest honour the school bestows.
"I look up to the people who they have in the Order of St. Michael and never dreamt I'd be considered for it," he said.
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 school and the greater community.
As a youngster, Gregory aspired to be a hockey player. But when he didn't make a Junior B team, Father David Bauer took him under his wing.
Alongside Bauer, Gregory was assistant manager and assistant coach with the school for years, most notably when the St. Michael's Majors won the Memorial Cup in 1961.
Bauer helped Gregory get a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he has been in professional hockey ever since.
"I went to work for the Maple Leafs and my whole life changed," said Gregory, 76.
He was a scout before becoming general manager, a job he held for 10 years. He has since served in several major roles with the NHL.
Going to St. Mike's "changed my life and opened doors for me that I would have never had available to me," said Gregory.
"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."