Ed Meagher was born on January 6, 1926. At the age of ten, he entered Loyola’s Junior Preparatory class, the start of a 55-year association with Loyola as a student, athlete, teacher, coach, administrator, alumni director and friend.
The legacy of Ed Meagher lives on at Loyola, especially in the annual Winter Sports tournament. The tournament began in 1971, when Senior hockey coaches Jim Ruddy and Ed Meagher were determined to find a way to showcase the wonderful talents of those who played high school hockey in Montreal. The inaugural tournament, which featured four Senior hockey teams, was not very successful. Due to a massive snowstorm that weekend, one of the teams could not make it, and the four-team tournament was reduced to only three. The tournament lost money. But Fr. Ken Casey, the school principal at the time, was determined not to let a great idea die and kept the tournament flame alive with his foresight and financial generosity.
Over the years, the tournament has grown into one of the highlights of the Montreal winter sports-scene. In 1974, Senior basketball, today called Juvenile basketball was added to the tournament, followed by Bantam hockey in 1981 and Midget basketball a year later. The tournament remained a four-division, hockey/basketball tournament for the next thirteen years, when the sport of wrestling was added in 1995. In 1998, Bantam basketball was added, followed by Peewee hockey in 2003 and Peewee basketball in 2006.
In 1975, Ed Meagher decided that the only way in which the tournament could and would succeed, would be if Loyola parents became involved in it. That year, a “Tournament Committee”, consisting of parents, former parents, alumni and Loyola staff members, was struck. The work done by this and subsequent “Committees”, was instrumental in seeing the tournament grow from three teams in 1972, to over 40 teams and close to 700 student-athletes today. The tournament has become truly a school-wide event and the weekend that Ed Meagher always looked forward to most, is now enjoyed annually by hundreds of students, athletes and volunteers. In 1996, the tournament was appropriately renamed the “Ed Meagher Sports Tournament”.
It was only fitting that Concordia University, of which Loyola College was one of two founding institutions, renamed its rink the “Ed Meagher Arena” on January 28, 2000, at the opening ceremony of the 30th annual Ed Meagher Sports Tournament. Hanging from the rafters of the Ed Meagher Arena, is his hockey sweater, number 11, the first ever sweater number to be retired in Loyola’s rich sports history.
On November 7, 1995, at the age of sixty-nine, Ed Meagher succumbed to cancer. His funeral was held at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Fifteen-hundred mourners, both young and old, people whose lives he had touched for more than half a century, came to bid farewell to a legend.
Ed Meagher has left a legacy of excellence for everyone in the Loyola community to emulate. A legend in his own time, “Mr. Loyola’s” presence will be with us forever.