John Benedict "Peanuts" O'Flaherty was a right-winger who spent 25 years as a hockey player. He played briefly with the New York/Brooklyn Americans in the early 40s but otherwise was an excellent minor pro and senior player. He earned his nickname after a Toronto sports writer spotted him selling peanuts at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1933.
The Toronto native played junior with the St. Michael's Majors and West Toronto Nationals. In 1936 he helped West Toronto win 17 consecutive playoff games on the way to the Memorial Cup title. This was followed by four years in the late 30s with the senior Dominions, Marlboros and Goodyears of Toronto. Future Toronto coach Punch Imlach was a teammate of O'Flaherty's with West Toronto and a linemate with the Goodyears.
After leading the OHA senior league with 41 goals in 29 games in 1939-40, O'Flaherty scored four goals in ten games for the Americans the next year. He played 11 games when the club was relocated to Brooklyn but was chiefly an AHL player at this time. In 1941-42, O'Flaherty led the league with 44 assists while competing for the Springfield Indians.
Apart from playing briefly with the Toronto RCAF and serving in the military during World War II, O'Flaherty was a regular on the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL. Beginning in 1950-51, he was a fixture in senior hockey circles with such teams as the St. Michael's Monarchs and the Saint John Beavers. By the late 50s he retired as a player but was coaching the Sudbury Wolves of the NOHA. He later worked in automotive sales and scouted for the Vancouver Canucks where he watched his son, Gerry, make the NHL in the 1970's.