George Mara was a member of the Ottawa Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Flyers who were chosen to represent Canada at St. Moritz 1948, where as captain of the team, he won the gold medal. Mara played in eight games and scored 17 goals.
Educated at Upper Canada College where he began playing hockey in 1937, Mara also played for the Toronto Marlboros junior hockey team. He turned down an offer to play for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL) during World War II, and served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy. During his hockey career, Mara was linked with various teams including the Halifax Navy, Toronto Staffords, and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. He tried with the NHL’s New York Rangers in 1946 (never playing a game), and later the Toronto Maple Leafs (but was deemed to not be “blue-collar” enough).
After his playing days were over, Mara pursued his two passions – hockey and business. He joined the family wine and spirits importer business, and later sold it to join Jannock Corporation where he became vice-chairman. Mara was one of the founders and chairman of the Olympic Trust of Canada (fundraising arm of the Canadian Olympic Association, now the Canadian Olympic Committee), raising millions of dollars to support Canadian athletes. From 1957-69, Mara was a director of Maple Leaf Gardens, and in 1969 he was briefly the president. He was on the board of directors of Wellesley Hospital, Ontario Society for Crippled Children, Confederation Life, and the Ontario division of the Canadian Cancer Society. Mara died in Cleveland, Ohio in 2006 while undergoing heart surgery.
Mara was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, awarded the Canadian Olympic Order in 1994, made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1976, and as a member of his gold medal-winning Olympic team, inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2008.
|1948 St. Moritz||Ice Hockey||Men||Gold|