From Peterborough, Ontario, Heffernan played junior hockey in his home town. He then played at the senior level in Toronto with the Toronto R & AA club (1912 to 1914) and the Toronto Victorias (1914–15). He played in the American Amateur Hockey League from 1915 to 1918 with the Brooklyn Crescents and New York Wanderers, before returning to Canada and joining the senior amateur Toronto St Patricks in the Ontario Hockey Association.
In December 1919, a group affiliated with the St. Pats took over the Toronto franchise in the National Hockey League, renaming the team the Toronto St. Patricks with Heffernan as player-coach and co-owner. The NHL credits Heffernan with coaching 12 games, with five wins and seven losses. He was replaced as coach during the season by Harvey Sproule, and sold his stake in the team in December 1920. The club would become the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1927. Heffernan was said to be joining the rival Canadian Hockey Association, but it never got off the ground.
He died in 1938 in a New York City hotel room.
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|TOR||1919–20||12||5||7||0||-||(24)||3rd in NHL||(resigned)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coaches|
| ARENAS: D. Carroll • ST. PATS: Heffernan • Sproule • F. Carroll • O'Donoghue • Querrie • Powers • Rodden •|
MAPLE LEAFS: Romeril • Smythe • Duncan • Irvin • Day • Primeau • Clancy • Meeker • Reay • Imlach • McLellan • Kelly • Neilson • Smith • Duff • Crozier • Nykoluk • Maloney • Brophy • Armstrong • Carpenter • Watt • Burns • Beverley • Murphy • Quinn • Maurice • Wilson • Carlyle • Babcock • Keefe
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