Inducted November 1, 1980
St. Bonaventure’s College Year Book, The Adelphian, in reporting on the College’s annual Sport’s Day of 1917, stated: ‘In winning the victor ludorum in the Junior division, Eddie Phelan’s performance outclassed all rivals’. In time the use of superlatives in describing young Phelan’s performance at St. Bon’s marked every step of his athletic and scholastic progress through that institution.
Ed Phelan was born at St. John’s, August 18th, 1902, and was enrolled as a student at St. Bon’s in 1907. His remarkable athletic ability is reflected in his having been victor ludorum as a junior, intermediate and senior student at St. Bon’s. From 1917 through to 1921, the Blue and Gold dominated inter-collegiate sports. Through those years, Phelan captained the College’s victorious teams in Hockey, Football and Track. He was victor ludorum in the Dominion indoor track meet of 1921.
Ed Phelan’s twelve years as a player with St. Bon’s in the Senior hockey league began in 1921 and at a time when those magnificent Feildian teams were dominating the league. It was too great fortitude for St. Bon’s to remain in the league. Here and there along the way the St. Bon’s senior team did earn Tie cups in 1922, 1924, 1926 and 1927. The exclusive Boyle trophy was never theirs. Ed Phelan became captain of St. Bon’s ice hockey team in 1924; a post he held until his retirement from hockey in 1932. In 1928, came a life’s ambition realized for St. Bon’s. Captain Phelan piloted the team to its first Boyle trophy win. St. Bon’s would repeat with wins on the Boyle in 1930, 1931 and 1932. It would be the beginning of a hockey dynasty. Meanwhile, young Phelan was carving a niche for himself, in other athletic spheres. In 1920, he became a member of the B.I.S. senior football team. During the ten years following as a member of that team, the B.I.S. won the championship in 1921 and 1922.
Few athletes have shown the versatility of Eddie Phelan. He excelled in Hockey, Football, Baseball and Track and Field. A lawyer by profession Edmund J. Phelan was called to the bar in 1926. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1945 and Master of the Supreme Court in 1947. He was Chairman of the Board of Regents at Memorial University from 1954 to 1959. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Law for his considerable contribution to the cause of education in Newfoundland.