From his days as a stick boy in the 1950s, right up until his passing in 2008, Gary Cook dedicated himself to providing opportunities for people to participate and excel in hockey, making him a builder of sport in the truest sense of the word.
Serving on the training staff of the Port Arthur North Stars junior hockey organization throughout the 1960s, 'Cookie' was the Trainer of the Marrs in their 1967 challenge for the Memorial Cup. Making the jump to senior hockey, he started his close to 20 year affiliation with the Thunder Bay Twins in the early 1970s, acting as their Trainer when they won their first Allan Cup in 1975.
Following his move to the General Manager position, the Twins grew into the dominant senior hockey team in Canada throughout most of the 1980s, claiming an incredible four Allan Cup titles with back to back victories in 1984 and 1985 and 1988 and 1989.
The next step in his hockey career came as a founding member of the Colonial Hockey League serving as General Manager of the Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks and claiming the 1991-92 inaugural league title. Throughout his involvement with the CoHL he claimed two more Colonial Cups as GM of the Thunder Bay Senators, earned the 1995 Executive of the Year honours and undertook scouting duties for the Ottawa Senators.
When the club was reestablished as the Thunder Bay Thunder Cats, he served as GM, VP of Hockey Operations, Governor and Alternate Governor in the United Hockey League, and remained involved in the league as a director of player personnel for Port Huron and Roanoke up until 2006.
After almost a half century of involvement in hockey administration, when most people would have contemplated retirement, Cookie continued to contribute his time and talent to young hockey players, getting involved in the newly formed Superior International Junior Hockey League in 2001. Serving as General Manager of the Fort William North Stars, he contributed to their three consecutive SIJHL titles and their 2006 Ontario Junior A hockey crown.
With a career covering six decades that included 5 Canadian, 1 provincial, and 3 professional hockey titles, this northwestern Ontario hockey icon earned the admiration and respect of the thousands of hockey players and fans.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 27, 2008