John Walton “Jack” Phillips
Ryerson Rams, 56-57, 57-58, 58-59
Ryerson University Athletics Hall of Fame 2009
May 5, 1935 – June 22, 2023

The Ryerson Rams Hockey Alumni regretfully announce the passing of Jack Phillips #14 on June 22, 2023.  

Jack came to Ryerson from Ottawa and played for the Rams for three seasons from 1956 to 1959. He was a member of the 1958-59 OIAA Championship team and, together with his teammates, was inducted into the Ryerson Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. He played right wing and is remembered as being a strong skater with a good shot and a good teammate. One story – of many – Jack used to love to regale at Alumni events, was that when he was playing for the Rams, the Ryersonian hockey reporter often referred to him as “Speedy Jack Phillips” in his game reports.

John Walton "Jack" Phillips - Ottawa - Ryerson Rams Hockey Team Photo 1956-57

The 1956-57 Ryerson Rams Hockey Team Photo – Jack Phillips is on the far right second row next to Ryerson President, Dr. Howard Kerr. Dr. Kerr was the Rams #1 fan. He attended most games and visited the room after the game to speak to the team. Legendary Rams Coach Norm McClelland is standing on the far left in the back row.

According to Jack – during his Ryerson days – he was involved in several hockey related shenanigans – two of which should be recorded here for posterity.

A couple of days before the team was about to leave for a weekend trip to Sudbury for a Laurentian game, a professor gave the class an assignment due the following Monday. Jack asked for an extension but was denied and advised Coach McClelland he would have to skip the trip to complete the assignment.

McClelland told Jack – “leave it with me”. The next day the professor told Jack “Phillips, you’re going to Sudbury and can hand in the assignment later”. Ryerson’s President, Dr. Kerr – the team’s #1 fan – had interceded on Jack’s behalf at Coach McClelland’s request.

In another instance – this time on the train back to Toronto after a victory. Evidently Jack and a couple of other team rascals, had led the team to the refreshment car and proceeded to take refreshment.

Coach McClelland caught them red handed – thoroughly chastised the players and told them he was quitting as Coach – before Ryerson finds out and fires him.

At the next practise – as the team was in the room suiting up – the door opened, and Coach McClelland walked in all smiles. “Boys will be boys” he said – “lets get ready for practice”. They found out later that Dr. Kerr had again interceded and persuaded the coach to stay.

Jack graduated from Ryerson in 1959 as an Architectural Technologist Specializing in Construction and returned to Ottawa to work for his father’s company H K Phillips Construction and headed the company after his father’s retirement. The company built several Brewers Warehouse outlets in Ottawa, a number of buildings at Carleton University as well as the Unitarian House of Ottawa – a retirement home – where Jack lived his final years.

He was also a very active member of the Rams Hockey Alumni and supporter of the Rams team.  He played regularly in the annual RRHA Golf Tournaments and attended Rams games. When the team played in Ottawa, he was often invited by Rams Coach Wise to have breakfast with the team at Don Cherry’s Restaurant as well as help pick the game star.  Jack was one of the founding members of the Rams $20 Year Club to help raise funds for the team. He also assisted with the RAMFIND Project by searching for his teammates and encouraging them to join the RRHA and help support the team.

Jack was proud to be a Ryerson graduate and a proud member of the Ryerson Rams Hockey Alumni. The Ryerson varsity slogan “Once A Ram – Always A Ram” meant a great deal to him. Jack was usually a quiet man but he was very discontented and outspoken when the university changed its name and mascot and he disclosed that he still had a vigilant hockey player’s fire in his belly, even at 86 years of age. 

We extend our condolences to the Phillips family.

Submitted by: John Taylor, #20: 62-65 Rams, with input from Jack’s 58-59 teammate, Don Taylor

Obituary & Arrangements

Phillips – John “Jack” Walton
Suddenly on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at the age of 88 years.  Beloved husband of the late Anne Phillips (nee McFarlane).  Loving uncle of Wes Phillips (Katie Gray) and their daughter Winter, and Jason and Amy Phillips.  He is survived by his brother Bobby Phillips.  Predeceased by his brother Jimmy Phillips. 

A Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, July 17 at 11am at the Hulse Playfair & McGarry Central Chapel, 315 McLeod St., Ottawa.

In memory of Jack, please consider a donation to the Dementia Society of Ottawa.